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Fister showed no visible effect from the blow — in fact, some in the crowd wondered whether the ball perhaps glanced off his glove because Fister stayed on his feet. Only when fans saw replays did groans echo around the ballpark.
Leyland, pitching coach Jeff Jones and a trainer went to the mound, and Fister insisted on staying in the game. He walked the next batter to load the bases with two outs, but retired Bumgarner on a popup, starting a streak of 12 straight hitters set down by Fister.
"Well, if you’d have been out there, it was something to see," Leyland said. "Because the trainer was saying, ‘Where are you?’ ‘San Francisco.’ ‘What game is it?’ ‘Game No. 2.’
"I don’t want to make light of it, but it was kind of comical really because Doug was right on with everything. But I was scared to death when it happened."
The game remained scoreless until the seventh, right after actor Tom Hanks — a former peanut vendor at the nearby Oakland Coliseum — sang "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" on the field.
Pence led off with a single and Fister departed, getting lots of hugs in the dugout. Rookie reliever Drew Smyly walked Brandon Belt on a full-count pitch and Blanco’s bunt loaded the bases with no outs.
The Tigers kept their infield back up the middle, and had no play at the plate on Crawford’s bouncer.
"We felt like we played double-play depth because we felt like we couldn’t give them two runs. That’s why we did that, and we got the double play," Leyland said.
"To be honest with you, we were absolutely thrilled to come out of that inning with one run. Absolutely thrilled. I mean, we had to score anyway."
Pence added the insurance run the next inning with his flyball off Octavio Dotel.
"We played good small ball today," Pence said. "We played a great game of baseball, had outstanding pitching and great defense and we found a way to get it done."
Of the 52 teams to take a 2-0 lead in the World Series, 41 have gone on to win the title. That includes 14 of the last 15 teams with that advantage.
"I’m not sure, and I haven’t done any studies on it," Giants reliever Jeremy Affeldt said, "but statisically it’s always better to be 2-0 than 1-1 or 0-2. I’m just guessing."
Fielder and the Tigers came up inches short of taking an early lead, the result of yet another alert play by Scutaro and a dubious decision by third base coach Gene Lamont.
Fielder was hit by a pitch to lead off the second, Delmon Young followed with a double and when the ball rattled around in left field, Lamont waved the burly slugger home. Even with no outs, Lamont sent him.
"I think Gene just got a little overaggressive," Leyland said.
Scutaro, in the middle of every big play for the Giants this month, dashed across the diamond, caught Blanco’s relay and unleashed a strong throw to the plate. All-Star catcher Buster Posey made a swipe tag to Fielder’s backside, just as the Tigers star slid home. Umpire Dan Iassogna had a clear look and made a demonstrative call — out!
Fielder immediately popped up from his slide and pleaded his case with two hands, saying he didn’t feel the tag. Leyland rushed out and pointed to the plate. At second base, Young yelled, "No!"
But even if there was replay review, it wouldn’t have helped the Tigers. Because TV replays showed Iassogna, working his first plate job in a World Series, got it right.
"Any time those kind of freak plays happen that don’t go your way," Fielder said. "It takes away a little momentum but you’ve got to be aggressive. They made a perfect play."
There was no dispute that Fister somehow avoided a serious injury moments later.Next Page >
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