DETROIT A tall figure in a blue-and-white checkered shirt hastened out of the visiting clubhouse at Comerica Park late Saturday night with a muttered "Excuse me" as a crush of reporters made its way inside. Matt Cain ducked across a hallway into an open door, grabbed a dinner roll and was out of sight.
Minutes earlier, the Giants had beaten the Detroit Tigers 2-0, becoming the first team in nearly 50 years to throw consecutive shutouts in the World Series and taking a 3-0 lead. Tonight, they will send Cain, their ace right-hander, to the mound with a chance to bring home the World Series title.
"It's a good spot," catcher Buster Posey said, with history backing him up. The 23 previous teams to take a 3-0 lead in the Series have gone on to win, and only three times has it gone to five games.
"But I think we all know how the game plays," Posey continued. "We were down 0-2 (in the division series to Cincinnati) and won three. We were able to come back. So we definitely don't take anything for granted."
If the Tigers are to extend the Series, they will have to do something they couldn't against Ryan Vogelsong, Tim Lincecum and Sergio Romo in Game 3 score. Vogelsong blanked the Tigers for 5 2/3 innings, outdueling Detroit's Anibal Sanchez, and has a 1.09 ERA in his four postseason starts.
The 92nd pitch of the night from Vogelsong was his biggest, a riding fastball inside to Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera, batting with the bases loaded and two outs in the fifth inning of a 2-0 game. Cabrera, jammed, popped out meekly to Brandon Crawford. It was the second of back-to-back fastballs to the Tigers' slugger.
"He definitely did put them right where he needed to," Posey said. "You've got to have confidence (to throw two fastballs in a row to Cabrera), got to trust your stuff, and he definitely does."
Vogelsong, who has given up three runs in 24 2/3 innings in his first postseason, is the eighth pitcher to allow no more than one run in four consecutive playoff starts.
Wearing short sleeves on a cold night in Detroit, he pitched around runners in every inning but the second, coaxing two double plays in the first three innings.
"I didn't think my stuff was as good as it was in the NLCS, but I really just tried to hit Buster's glove as many times as I could," Vogelsong said. "It's my first World Series. I've been waiting for this since I was 5 years old, and I wasn't going to go down without a fight, that's for sure."
He departed in the sixth after walking Andy Dirks with two outs, and in came Lincecum, who got Jhonny Peralta to fly out to end the inning. Lincecum did not allow a hit over the next two innings and finished the seventh and eighth with strikeouts of Quintin Berry and Dirks, drawing boos from an announced crowd of 42,262 at Comerica Park that otherwise was still for most of the night.
The fans rose in the ninth when Peralta hit a deep fly ball off Romo down the left-field line that looked as if it had home run potential. Curving, it died in the night air near the corner, and Gregor Blanco ran it down in foul territory near the 345-foot marker.
Lincecum has given up one run in 13 innings of relief this postseason. The Giants have not trailed once in their last six games, during which they have allowed four runs.
"Our starters have been doing a great job, the bullpen's been really good, and I think they're feeding off each other a little bit," Posey said. "They're executing their pitches and doing a great job of it."
Sanchez, the Tigers' right-hander, struck out eight over seven innings, but his one rocky inning made the difference. Hunter Pence walked leading off the second and scored when Blanco laced a full-count pitch into the gap in right-center for a triple. Two batters later, Crawford drove in Blanco with a bloop single to center.
"We got a tremendous pitching effort," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "But we've been shut out for 18 innings, so it's pretty hard to win a game."
The last team to record consecutive shutouts in the World Series was the 1966 Baltimore Orioles, who did it three games in a row. But Saturday night a subdued Romo was thinking of more recent history the Giants' own comebacks in the division and championship series.
"It's proof that anything can happen," Romo said. "So sleep on those guys? No chance."