DETROIT — The Baltimore Orioles had three consecutive shutouts against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1966 World Series and it wasn’t all that remarkable.
It was a period in baseball history so dominated by pitchers that the mound was lowered by 5 inches three years later to give the hitters more of a chance.
That’s what makes what the San Francisco Giants are doing this season so impressive.
For the first time since those Orioles throwing off a high mound, a team has recorded back-to-back shutouts in the World Series, the Giants beating the Detroit Tigers, 2-0, on Saturday night.
The Giants lead the Series, 3-0, and will have their best starter, Matt Cain, on the mound for Game 4 Sunday night. They are a victory away from their second championship in three years.
San Francisco has won six consecutive postseason games, outscoring the Cardinals and Tigers, 32-4. The Giants have not trailed in 54 consecutive innings.
“It’s a good situation, but there’s nothing been done yet,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “There’s still a lot of business at hand.”
All 23 previous teams that took a 3-0 lead in the Series have gone on to win it. Twenty have finished off the sweep.
So what can Tigers manager Jim Leyland say to his team now?
“You don’t really have to tell them anything,” he said. “They can count.”
The Tigers have scored only three runs on 15 hits over 27 innings against the Giants, getting shut down after an impressive sweep of the Yankees in the American League Championship Series.
Detroit’s two best hitters — Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder — are 3 for 19 with one RBI. They were 1 for 8 on Saturday.
Cabrera did not speak to reporters after the game, but Fielder stood at his locker and offered no excuses.
“They’re in the World Series for a reason. They’re executing good pitches,” he said of the Giants. “Everybody’s playing hard. Everybody’s prepared. We just don’t get to write the script.”
Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong pitched into the sixth inning before Tim Lincecum threw 2⅓ near-perfect innings of relief. Sergio Romo finished off the Tigers for his third save of the postseason.
The Tigers were held to five hits, none after the fifth inning. They left nine runners on base.
Lincecum, who struggled as a starter for the balance of the season, has made five relief appearances in the postseason and allowed one run over 13 innings while striking out 17.
“I know this season I didn’t do exactly what I wanted to do. So to go out there and just be able to do something for the team, whether that’s for two innings or an inning or four innings, that’s really my goal,” Lincecum said.
The Giants took a 2-0 lead in the second inning against Detroit starter Anibal Sanchez, the former Red Sox prospect.
Hunter Pence started the inning by walking on four pitches. He had walked once in 57 postseason plate appearances this season. Pence stole second as Brandon Belt struck out looking. A wild pitch moved Pence to third.
With Gregor Blanco up, Leyland pulled his infield in. Blanco drilled a 3-and-2 slider to the gap in right field for an RBI triple.
No. 9 hitter Brandon Crawford dropped a two-out single into center field to make it 2-0.
The Tigers put four runners on base in the first four innings but could not score.
Quintin Berry walked and Cabrera singled to left field with one out in the first inning. Fielder grounded a changeup to second baseman Marco Scutaro and he started a double play.
Omar Infante singled with one out in the third inning. Austin Jackson then reached on an infield single to third base. Berry was next and he swung at the first pitch, another changeup from Vogelsong. It was grounded to second and Scutaro started another double play.
The Tigers threatened again in the fifth inning, loading the bases with one out. That prompted a visit to the mound by San Francisco pitching coach Dave Righetti.
Berry struck out swinging at a fastball up and away. Cabrera then popped to shortstop.
“Frustrating,” Jackson said. “Those are the kind of situations we’ve been taking advantage of.”
That left the Tigers 0 for 4 with runners in scoring position for the game and 1 for 11 in the Series.
Vogelsong, a 35-year-old journeyman, has been brilliant in the postseason, allowing three earned runs over 24⅔ innings in four starts.
“It’s my first World Series,” Vogelsong said. “I’ve been waiting for this since I was 5 years old and I wasn’t going to go down without a fight.”
Sanchez pitched well, allowing two runs on six hits over seven innings. He walked one and struck out eight. He has given up four earned runs over 20⅓ innings in three postseason starts. The 28-year-old righthander will be a free agent after the Series and should cash in.Continued...