Rangers head home in 0-2 Series hole
Bullpen implodes in eighth during Giants' seven-run rally
SAN FRANCISCO -- Rangers third baseman Michael Young referred to it as a "classic pitching duel" between C.J. Wilson and Giants starter Matt Cain.That's the way Game 2 of the World Series should have been remembered. Instead everything blew up in the eighth inning, when Texas' bullpen completely fell apart. No matter. The Rangers' inability to do anything offensively against Cain is what's sending them back home to Arlington down two games to the Giants after a 9-0 loss in Game 2 at AT&T Park on Thursday. "It's obviously not where we want to be," outfielder David Murphy said. "But I don't think we need to get down on ourselves or mope around. We have no choice but to bounce back. There is plenty of baseball left. We just need to get back to playing Rangers baseball."
The Rangers are the 52nd team to lose the first two games of the World Series. Eleven of those have rallied to win the World Series, the most recent being the Yankees, who in 1996 came back to beat the Braves in six games."It's tough," catcher Matt Treanor said. "I'm not going to sit here and lie. The good part is we're going home and going home to our own people. That's where we want to be." The teams are off for travel on Friday before the series resumes with Game 3 on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. CT at the Ballpark in Arlington. Right-hander Colby Lewis will pitch for the Rangers against left-hander Jonathan Sanchez for the Giants. "Well, the challenge is we have to go home and we have to get a win," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "Colby Lewis has been outstanding for us, and we're certainly confident when we get back to Texas we can turn this thing around." The Rangers have also lost nine straight games to the Giants and 12 of their last 13 going back to 1999. They have never won at AT&T Park, going 0-9 here in the regular season plus the first two games of the World Series. "Just as they won two games here in San Francisco, we can get back to Texas and do the same thing," Washington said. "We expect to do that. The clubhouse is still upbeat. We're still confident that we can get it done. We've just got to get on back to Texas and do that." The Giants certainly aren't ready to celebrate anything just yet, knowing the next three are at the Ballpark in Arlington. "We're going to their place," said first baseman Aubrey Huff, who is from the Fort Worth area. "They're going to be fired up. 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." The Rangers need to score some runs. They were shut down completely by Cain, who has been brilliant for the Giants all postseason. He went 7 2/3 innings and held Texas to four hits and two walks. He struck out only two, but the Rangers were 0-for-7 against him with runners in scoring position and 0-for-9 in the game. "He threw the ball well," Young said. "He threw all his pitches for strikes and got ahead in the count. He kept his pitch count down. He just threw a great game. C.J. pitched a great game, too. It's too bad we couldn't get him any runs." Wilson was able to match Cain almost pitch for pitch except for an 0-1 fastball to Edgar Renteria in the fifth inning. Renteria drove that one deep over the left-field wall for a home run that gave the Giants a 1-0 lead. "I felt like I had complete control," Wilson said. "They hit one ball hard. A home run is a home run. You don't get an asterisk. He hit the ball over the fence." Wilson went six-plus innings before leaving in the seventh when a blister popped on the middle finger on his left hand while he was pitching to Cody Ross.
TWO MUCH?A look at how teams taking a 2-0 World Series lead have fared.
World Series facts and figures
- Fifty-two teams have taken a 2-0 lead in the Fall Classic, with 40 of the previous 51 going on to win the World Series.
- Starting in 1985, 17 of the last 25 Fall Classics, including this year's, have headed to Game 3 with one team on top, 2-0.
- Thirteen of the 16 clubs that led, 2-0, won the Series. The 1996 Braves, '86 Red Sox and '85 Cardinals led, 2-0, but lost the Series.
- The home team has taken a 2-0 lead 35 times (including these Giants) and has won 28 of those previous 34 Series.
- Since the 1981 Yankees went up 2-0 at home but lost the Series, the last 11 home teams that took a 2-0 lead went on to win.
"My finger just ripped open," Wilson said. "It was closed, then it was open on the second pitch to Ross. If I could have glued it back together, I could have kept pitching. It ripped open on the side, and that's where the blood came out."The Rangers had two threats in the first five innings but couldn't get the hit they needed with a runner in scoring position to take the lead. Mitch Moreland singled with one out in the third and was bunted to second by Wilson. But Cain got Elvis Andrus to fly to center to end the inning. In the fifth, Ian Kinsler led off by hitting one to deep center that hit the very top of the wall. One more inch could have pushed it over the wall for a home run, but it bounced back into the field, and Kinsler had to settle for a double. He stayed there. Murphy lined out to Renteria at shortstop, Treanor grounded out to short and, after Moreland was intentionally walked, Wilson grounded out to first. "Cain is a great pitcher, but when you have a chance to execute and take advantage of some opportunities, you've got to do it," Murphy said. The Rangers' best chance to do some real damage came in the sixth inning. Young and Josh Hamilton singled with one out -- their first hits of the Series -- and advanced to second and third on a wild pitch. They didn't get any farther. Cain got Nelson Cruz to foul out to first base and Kinsler to pop out to short right field. Kinsler reacted to that by slamming his helmet hard to the ground in frustration. Cruz wasn't much happier. "I feel lost at the plate," Cruz said. "My timing is not there. But there are no excuses. I should have done better." The Giants picked up an insurance run in the seventh. Ross led off by drawing a walk, and that was it for Wilson. He was replaced by Darren Oliver, who got Huff on a slow grounder to first. But Ross went to second on the play and scored when Juan Uribe blooped a single to right. That gave the Giants a 2-0 lead, and that seemed more than enough right there. But for the second night in a row, the bullpen struggled, allowing seven runs in the eighth to make the final score much worse than it should have been. Four relievers combined to allow four hits and four walks, including two with the bases loaded, all but ending any chance of a comeback. Either way, there is no getting around the fact that the Rangers are down 0-2 in the World Series. "We would have loved to have won both games, but it didn't happen," Young said. "The last thing we're going to sit and do is worry about how it happened. This group is the most mentally tough team I've ever been around. We're a confident team. We'll keep the same approach and play better at home."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.