San Francisco pitchers have baffled Detroit batters with back-to-back World Series shutouts, giving Matt Cain the chance to make history and complete a title sweep for the Giants.
The Giants shutout Detroit 2-0 for the second game in a row on Saturday to grab a three games to none lead in Major League Baseball’s best-of-seven final. No team has ever captured the World Series after losing the first three games.
But Cain vows he will start the potential title-clinching fourth game of the 108th World Series against Detroit just as if the Giants were not on the brink of capturing their second championship in three seasons.
“It doesn’t change anything,” Cain said. “You try to trick yourself into thinking it’s another game but your mind and body, they know what’s going on. It’s going to be a big game in the World Series whether we’re up 3-0 or 2-1. You’re going about it real focused and just trying to get the job done.”
The record for consecutive shutout victories in the World Series is three, accomplished by the 1966 Baltimore Orioles and 1905 New York Giants, who both did it in the last three Series games as San Francisco will attempt.
“We’ve got Cainer on the mound, which is nice to have,” said game-three winner Ryan Vogelsong. “He was definitely our ace this year and I expect him to go out and throw the ball well.”
Game four matches right-handed 16-game winners Cain and Max Scherzer of Detroit, who also says it does not matter that his team is on the brink of being swept out.
“Regardless of where the series is at, it’s a must-win game,” Scherzer said. “I will come up with a plan of attack on how I want to go at their offense as best I can. When I go out there it will be business as usual for me.”
Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Cain will raise his game to match the drama of the moment.
“Great players ... seem to play better when the club needs them,” Bochy said. “The higher the stakes, the more they do to elevate their game and I certainly would put Matt Cain in that class.”
San Francisco southpaw pitchers Barry Zito and Madison Bumgarner shut down Detroit sluggers in the first two games while right-handers Ryan Vogelsong, Tim Lincecum and Sergio Romo combined to blank the Tigers in game three.
To keep the Tigers tamed, Cain concentrates just as much on Detroit leadoff hitters Austin Jackson and Quintin Berry as he does the power-hitting sluggers Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder who follow them in the batting order.
“It’s not just the guys in the middle,” Cain said. “The biggest thing is taking care of the guys in front of them. If you can get the first two guys out or keep them off the bases, it just makes it a little easier stress-wise.”
Cain threw the 22nd perfect game in major league history last June against Houston, the first perfect game in the Giants’ 130-year history, and won game two of the 2010 World Series when San Francisco defeated Texas in five games.
“Sometimes the whole entire atmosphere can get a little ovrwhelming,” Cain said. “That’s where it’s beneficial to have been in this situation before.”