DETROIT -- After living on the edge through the National League playoffs, the Giants suddenly find themselves coasting toward a world championship.
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A remarkable run of postseason pitching for the Giants continued in Game 3 Saturday night. Ryan Vogelsong was the latest to take the baton and run with it, shutting down the Tigers in a 2-0 victory in front of 42,262 cold and mostly quiet fans at Comerica Park. That gave San Francisco a three-games-to-none lead in the best-of-seven series.
"They can count,'' Tigers manager Jim Leyland said of his team. "We know we're down three games to zero. There's no secret formula or message for them. They're big guys. They know what the situation is.''
But the Giants, who won a combined six elimination games in the NLDS and NLCS, would have to suffer a historic collapse not to win their second championship in three years.
They fell behind the Reds two games to none in the NLDS and trailed the Cardinals three games to one in the NLCS but won the final three games of each series to advance.
The Tigers would need to improve on that -- by winning four straight to erase a 3-0 deficit, which has been done only once in major-league history and never in the World Series -- to bring the title to Detroit.
Not long after holding the Yankees to a .157 batting average in the ALCS, the Tigers have scored three runs in three World Series games and have gone 15-for-91 (.165). Omar Infante, Austin Jackson and Delmon Young are at 10-for-31, but the rest of the team is 5-for-60.
A Tigers team that was shut out twice in the regular season became the first World Series team to be shut out in consecutive games since the 1966 Dodgers (against the Orioles).
"Obviously, you don't visualize this,'' said Prince Fielder, who is 1-for-10 in the series. "They've played good baseball.''
The Giants are 12-for-61 the past two games, but it's been good enough. "We're approaching every game the same here,'' Vogelsong said. "We know that we have to win one more game. This thing isn't over until we get the last out. We've been playing like that in the elimination games and all the games, really.''
Vogelsong went 52/3 innings, giving Giants starters an absurd 0.47 ERA in their last six postseason games. "I didn't think my stuff was as good as it was in the NLCS,'' he said. "I really just tried to hit Buster [Posey]'s glove as many times as I could. I wasn't as sharp as I wanted to be, but when the guys are playing 'D' like that behind you, it encourages you to try and get the guys to hit the ball.''
Vogelsong, who came in 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA in three postseason starts, turned it over to former Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum, who continued his brilliant work out of the bullpen in his 21/3 innings.
"Being able to contribute is the biggest thing for me,'' said Lincecum, who was 10-15 with a 5.18 ERA as a starter and readily accepted the bullpen assignment. "I know this season I didn't do exactly what I wanted to do, and to go out and do something for the team, whether for two innings or an inning, is my goal.''
Detroit righthander Anibal Sanchez more than did his job, allowing two runs, six hits and a walk in seven innings. But like Doug Fister in Game 2, he received no help.
The Tigers loaded the bases with one out in the fifth, but Quintin Berry struck out and Miguel Cabrera popped to short. Fielder and Berry hit into inning-ending double plays with two men on in the first and third.
"It's a good situation, but there's nothing been done yet,'' Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "It's a number, just like I said about two. Now it's three. But that's not the series.''
Sure seems inevitable, though.