Giants use Cain, smack Rangers into 2-0 hole

Giants use Cain, smack Rangers into 2-0 hole

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants' 9-0 rout Thursday over the Texas Rangers included the usual helpings of "torture" but also the hallmarks of a championship team.

Matt Cain, the Giants' budding October star, hastened their victory in Game 2 of the World Series with 7 2/3 resolute innings that preserved his 0.00 postseason ERA. A proven October hero, Edgar Renteria, homered to break a fifth-inning scoreless tie and drove in three runs. For the second night in a row, the Giants' offense generated not just a big inning, but an enormous one, scoring seven runs in the eighth inning after having two outs with nobody on base.

The decision gave San Francisco an enviable 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven Series, which shifts to Rangers Ballpark in Arlington for Game 3 on Saturday. Here's some tantalizing information for the Giants, who haven't captured a World Series since 1954: Of the 51 previous teams to grab a 2-0 Series advantage, 40 proceeded to win it all, including the last seven in a row and 13 of the previous 14.


Since the 1981 Yankees forged ahead 2-0 at home but lost the Series, the last 11 home teams that led 2-0 ultimately won it.

It's mathematically possible that the boisterous, towel-waving, fake-beard-wearing crowd that filled AT&T Park will next see its heroes in a victory parade along Market Street. But after a season full of challenges and 55 years of frustration since the franchise's last World Series triumph, none of the Giants would dare assume that the ultimate prize was imminent.

"We're going to their place. They're going to be fired up," first baseman Aubrey Huff warned. "Their fans have been waiting a long time for this, too. They're going to be loud. So we have to go in there, take the first one and worry about the next one. All they have to do is win the next one and they're right back in it."

Rangers third baseman Michael Young remained composed.

"This isn't the type of group that needs a massive team meeting or anything like that," he said. "You come to win every night, so it's not going to be a reason to change our approach. We'll be ready for Game 3 and come out and play hard."

Nevertheless, the Giants' 20-7 scoring edge contributed to the lopsided feel of this Series thus far. By comparison, the Yankees scored only 19 runs in six games against Texas in the American League Championship Series.

ONE-TWO PUNCH
The Giants and Rangers have combined for 27 runs -- 11-7 and 9-0 wins for S.F. -- making this one of the highest-scoring World Series of all-time though two games.
Runs Year Teams
30 1956 Yankees-Dodgers
29 1960 Yankees-Pirates
29 1936 Yankees-Giants
28 2004 Red Sox-Cardinals
28 2002 Giants-Angels
27 2010 Giants-Rangers
27 1998 Yankees-Padres
25 1958 Yankees-Braves
25 1964 Yankees-Cardinals
25 1932 Yankees-Cubs

Despite their lack of offensive renown, the Giants have reached rare statistical heights. The last team to score 20 or more runs in back-to-back World Series games was Anaheim, which amassed 21 runs in Games 2 and 3 in 2002 against the Giants.

Huff maintained perspective. "Realistically, we scored two until the bottom of the eighth inning," he said. "It was a 'torture' game until the bottom of the eighth."

That's why the Giants needed Cain, who has become the Mr. October of all moundsmen in this postseason while allowing an unearned run and 13 hits in 21 1/3 innings. The right-hander became the eighth starting pitcher in Major League history to allow zero earned runs in three consecutive postseason outings.

"I've been trying to work ahead in the count," said Cain, who credited catcher Buster Posey for collaborating with him smoothly. Since the postseason began, Cain said, "I really tried to make sure that I made every pitch count from here on out."

Against the Rangers, who were shut out for only the sixth time this season, Cain capitalized on AT&T Park's spacious outfield by inducing 13 fly-ball outs while allowing four hits. One of them nearly besmirched his ERA. Ian Kinsler opened the fifth inning by launching an 0-2 pitch to center field, where the ball struck the top of the wall and caromed back to Andres Torres. Had the ball traveled another inch, it might have ricocheted in the other direction for a home run. Instead, Kinsler settled for a double.

"We definitely got a break there," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.

Cain tiptoed past the Rangers and out of the inning as David Murphy lined out, Matt Treanor grounded out and, following an intentional walk to Mitch Moreland, C.J. Wilson bounced to first base. That was typical for Cain, who held the Rangers hitless in seven at-bats with runners in scoring position. He established his ability to survive jams long ago by limited opponents to a .193 batting average with runners in scoring position during the last two seasons, second-best in the Majors during that span.

The Giants were more fortunate in their half of the fifth. Renteria, who collected the Series-winning hit in the 1997 Fall Classic with Florida, delivered his second career postseason homer with one out as he smashed a 91-mph fastball from Wilson over the left-field barrier.

"You guys know I have power," Renteria said with a laugh. "He just threw me a fastball in and I just put a good swing on the ball."

Juan Uribe, who homered in each of San Francisco's previous two postseason games, produced what seemed like an essential run with one out in the seventh inning against reliever Darren Oliver by singling home Cody Ross.

That was nothing compared to the eighth. After reliever Darren O'Day struck out Torres and Freddy Sanchez, Posey singled to prolong the inning. With left-handed-batting Nate Schierholtz due up, Rangers manager Ron Washington summoned lefty Derek Holland from the bullpen. Schierholtz walked, the first of four free passes in a row issued by Holland and Mark Lowe. Renteria's two-run single, Aaron Rowand's two-run, pinch-hit triple and Torres' RBI double accelerated the uprising.

Asked if he sensed that his walk would help precipitate such a windfall of scoring, Schierholtz said, "I don't think anyone did. But you never know. Our guys have been battling every at-bat the last two games."

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.