10/29/12 4:15 AM ET
Quick scoring helps propel Giants to 3-0 Series lead
By Chris Haft, Alden Gonzalez, Barry M. Bloom and Zack Meisel / MLB.com
The scene was Busch Stadium in St. Louis, circa Oct. 18. The Cardinals closed out Game 4 of the National League Championship Series with an 8-3 victory to claim a 3-1 series lead. Ten days and 54 innings have since elapsed, and the Giants have yet to face another deficit.
A binge of quick scoring has staked San Francisco to a string of early leads, which have proven to be plenty of backing for the club's stout pitching. The Giants have scored in the first or second inning in four of their last six contests.
"That's a recipe that [gives] you a good shot," said Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti. "As you watched our team over the year, the way this team is built, we've been able to come from behind better than we've ever done before, too. I think we're just a dangerous club either way."
Righetti hesitated to contextualize the Giants' recent mastery on the mound, in fear of jinxing the staff. San Francisco has yielded just five runs during its six-game winning streak.
"We have to pitch to win," Righetti said. "That's what you always have to do. The guys understand that."
Giants skipper Bruce Bochy said Sunday that when he joined the organization in 2007, he and general manager Brian Sabean discussed transforming the team from one that boasted a powerful lineup to one predicated on pitching. The adjustment has paid its dividends.
"When you're playing the clubs that you play in [the] postseason, you have to execute," Bochy said. "You have to make your pitches. And these guys have been consistent doing it."
Theriot scores winning run in second straight title
DETROIT -- When Ryan Theriot found himself on second base with two outs on Sunday, representing the go-ahead run in the top of the 10th inning in Game 4 of the World Series, Hunter Pence figured destiny was kind of on the Giants' side.
"It was just a moment that you really couldn't have written up much better," the Giants' right fielder said. "When Theriot was on second, we were yelling in the dugout, 'Theriot scored the game-winning run in the College World Series!' And you had [Marco] Scutaro up. We just had a good feeling about the moment."
Those feelings were solidified when Scutaro's flare fell into shallow center field, bringing Theriot around to give the Giants a 4-3 lead and eventually seal a stunning World Series sweep of the Tigers at Comerica Park.
Last year, Theriot was an important member of that Cardinals team that miraculously won it all, starting six of their 18 playoff games -- including Game 7 of the World Series. And 12 years ago, while playing for Louisiana State University in the 2000 College World Series, Theriot scored the game-winning run to give the Tigers a national championship.
"It was a single by Brad Cresse to left field," Theriot recalled. "I'll never forget it."
Now, Theriot has won back-to-back championships with two different organizations and has scored two championship-sealing runs.
Not many players can say that.
"Crazy, huh?" said Theriot, the backup infielder who served as the designated hitter on Sunday, leading off the 10th with a single and advancing to second on Brandon Crawford's sacrifice bunt before coming home with the winning run.
"It's a blessing, man. Being on a championship team is really rare. To be on two is unreal."
Giants' pitchers smothering Tigers' big bats
DETROIT -- The story of the World Series through three games has been the Giants' ability to contain the Tigers' offense, notably slumbering sluggers Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder.
Calling the pitches and catching every one, Giants catcher Buster Posey has relied on his instincts and the input of the pitching staff, which has the option of shaking him off. It doesn't appear to happen very often.
In Game 3, a 2-0 Giants victory, Ryan Vogelsong retired Cabrera on a popup with the bases loaded and two down in the fifth inning. It turned out to be the Tigers' last gasp.
"I go with my gut," Posey said, referring to pitch selection. "I know Vogey goes with his a lot, too. If I put something down he's not convicted about, he lets me know."
Vogelsong went with an 0-1 fastball up and in that tied up Cabrera, who hasn't been able to get his powerful arms extended in the Series to launch his familiar drives deep to the gaps.
"With Cabrera, he executed two pitches," Posey said, "and got the best hitter in the game out."
Cabrera (2-for-9, both singles, one RBI) and Fielder (1-for-10, a single) have been held in check by a dominant Giants staff that has kept Detroit to three runs in three games and a .165 batting average. The Tigers have a .248 slugging percentage and .220 on-base percentage entering Game 4 Sunday night against Giants ace Matt Cain, who faces Max Scherzer.
"Our pitchers are kind of feeding off each other," Posey said. "They've got to be confident and trust in their stuff. They're doing a nice job of moving the ball around and not letting [hitters] get comfortable. It all comes down to executing pitches, and that's what our guys have been doing."
Pitching coach Dave Righetti referred to the staff's work overall as "grade A, so to speak," but resisted drawing comparisons to the 2010 champions.
"When the stretch ends," he said, "I'll let you know. We've got to pitch to win."
Giants winning despite striking out 'quite a bit'
DETROIT -- As Sunday's Game 4 approached, one of Giants manager Bruce Bochy's biggest concerns was the club's offense.The Giants needed shutout pitching to win Games 2 and 3 of the World Series, because they scored only two runs each night. They also struck out 18 times, including 12 in Saturday's Game 3. These were the same Giants who finished with the National League's second-fewest strikeouts. "We're striking out quite a bit lately, and I think we can do a little better job of trying to put the ball in play than what's happened here recently," Bochy said. "That's what's made us a better club, particularly in the second half." The Giants batted a Major League-high .296 with runners in scoring position after the All-Star break. Before the break, they posted a .225 average in such situations, next to last in the National League.
Bochy recalls his role in '84 Fall Classic
DETROIT -- This isn't Bruce Bochy's first World Series experience against the Tigers. In 1984, he was the backup catcher when the Padres played the Tigers, losing in five games -- the last three at old Tiger Stadium.Bochy had one at-bat in the Series, a pinch-hit appearance for center fielder Bobby Brown in the ninth inning of Game 5, when the Padres were already losing, 8-4, and on their way to defeat. Bochy hit a single to left and manager Dick Williams quickly replaced the slow-footed Bochy on the basepaths with Ron Roenicke, now the manager of the Brewers. "Can you imagine Dick replacing me with a pinch-runner?" Bochy said with a grin. "The nerve of the guy." In the at-bat against Willie Hernandez -- the reliever who was the MVP and the winner of the Cy Young Award in the American League that season -- Bochy hit a long drive down the line that landed in the upper deck in the venerable stadium that once stood nearby on the corner of Michigan and Trumbell. "In my mind it still counts," Bochy said about the foul homer. "I went 2-for-1." Bochy hasn't forgotten about how that Series ended, either. As it became apparent in the final innings that the Tigers were about to wrap up their first (and last) World Series victory since 1968, fans rioted around the outskirts of Tiger Stadium, torching cars, among other things. "Our families were moved out of the stadium in the seventh inning and sent to the airport before the rest of the team," Bochy recalled. After the game, the Padres went out to their team buses, which were almost overrun by rowdy fans. "They surrounded the bus and started shaking it," Bochy said. "A police car was burning. You'd think they'd be happy we lost." Finally a group of mounted riot police ushered the buses slowly away from the ballpark toward the freeway. It was clear sailing from there to the hotel. It was Bochy's only appearance in the World Series as a player. Subsequently, he managed the Padres in their sweep at the hands of the Yankees in the 1998 World Series and was at the helm when the Giants defeated the Rangers in five games two years ago. "It was a big thing for me," Bochy said about that brief appearance in the 1984 Fall Classic. "I'm 1-for-1, and nobody can ever take that away from me."
Sleepless Bochy ready for possible clinch
DETROIT -- Bruce Bochy will have to wait until the offseason to catch up on his sleep.The Giants manager said Sunday that he remained mostly restless through the night as he pondered Game 4 and his ballclub. "You don't sleep well at this time of year," Bochy said. "The wheels are turning. It goes with the territory." It certainly does. Two years ago, after the Giants forged ahead of the Texas Rangers 3-1 in the World Series, Bochy revealed after San Francisco's clinching Game 5 triumph that he had endured a fitful night.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow@boomskie on Twitter. Zack Meisel is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @zackmeisel. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.