Rapid Reax: Rangers head home down 0-2
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Rangers head back to Arlington down 0-2 in the World Series after the Giants pitched well and got more than enough offense to win, 9-0, in Game 2 courtesy of a late bullpen meltdown. Some quick thoughts on the game (more to come on the blog from the clubhouse):
* Matt Cain put on a pitching clinic. He worked quickly and found a nice rhythm from the start. He had excellent fastball command and was able to get nice movement on his breaking pitches. He seemed to pitch ahead of nearly every hitter and when he got into trouble, he got out of it. His slider and changeup were particularly effective. He didn't lose his cool out there and went deep into the game.
* Wasted chances. The Rangers had two golden opportunities to score and didn't. Ian Kinsler hit a long fly ball to center that went off the top of the wall -- and I mean the top -- and came back into play for a double to start the fifth. It was inches from a homer. Instead, Kinsler was at second with a leadoff double and never moved. David Murphy hit a soft liner to short and Matt Treanor grounded to short for the second out. That's when the fact that Game 2 was in a National League park helped the Giants in the fifth. With Kinsler still at second base and two outs, the Giants smartly walked Mitch Moreland to pitch to Wilson, who chopped out to first.
* Texas had an even better chance to score an inning later. Michael Young and Josh Hamilton hit singles to right (Cody Ross was fortunate on a diving attempt at Hamilton's ball that the ball bounced up and hit him in the chest and didn't roll far away, forcing Young to stay at second). Cain then threw a wild pitch that allowed Young and Hamilton to move up as the Rangers showed off their ability to get aggressive on balls in the dirt.
With Nelson Cruz up, the Giants played the infield back conceding a run. But Cruz popped up to first baseman Aubrey Huff in foul territory. Ian Kinsler then flied out to shallow right field to end the inning. The escape certainly fired up the Giants fans.
* In the eighth inning, Elvis Andrus walked and stole second base with one out. Michael Young then flied out to right and Andrus couldn't advance. The Giants changed pitchers as Cain exited and lefty Javier Lopez came in to face Josh Hamilton and got him to fly out, ending yet another threat with runners in scoring position.
* The Rangers bullpen again had trouble. With one on and two out in the eighth, Washington turned to Derek Holland against the left-handed hitting Schierholtz. But Holland walked him on four pitches. He then walked Ross on four pitches to load the bases. He stayed in to pitch to the left-handed hitting Aubrey Huff, but walked him on five pitches to give the Giants a 3-0 lead. So Holland's day: 13 pitches, 12 balls, three walks.
* Mark Lowe, who warmed up at warp speed after Holland's second walk, came in and walked Uribe on a 3-2 pitch to plate another run. Then, with a 3-2 count that had the runners moving, Renteria hit a two-RBI single to make it 6-0.
* Michael Kirkman then came in and gave up a triple to right off the bat of Aaron Rowand to score two more runs. Then Torres hit a double to left to score the ninth run of the game and the seventh off the inning. All of them with two outs.
* Matt Treanor made a nice block on a breaking ball in the dirt with Ross at third base and Uribe up in the second inning. Treanor kept the ball in front of him, preventing any chance of Ross advancing to home with the game's first run.
* Cruz was in right field for Game 2 with Vladimir Guerrero on the bench. And he made a play in the third that Guerrero might not make, racing to the gap in right-center and catching a fly ball hit by Andres Torres (with a runner at first and one out). Cruz certainly seemed more comfortable out there than Guerrero did. He made a nice adjustment on Aubrey Huff's liner to right with one on and two outs in the fourth to end the inning.
* While Kinsler's fly ball was close to a homer in the top of the fifth, there was no doubt about Edgar Renteria's blast in the bottom half. Wilson hung a 91 mph fastball and Renteria turned on it, hitting it 20 rows up in left field. Renteria has had big World Series hits before, winning Game 7 for the Marlins against the Indians with a single up the middle in 1997.
* Give Bruce Bochy credit. Before the seventh inning, he moved Ross to left and inserted Nate Schierholtz in right field, putting Pat Burrell on the bench to get a better defensive setup for the final three innings. The move paid immediate dividends. Schierholtz caught Murphy's fly ball to left and Schierholtz made a nice running catch to get to Treanor's deep fly ball to right. He also brought in Lopez to face Hamilton and got the out.
* Celebrity watch: Joe Montana was in attendance at the game, getting huge cheers from the San Francisco crowd when he was shown on the big screen before the seventh inning. So were Wayne Gretzky and Rob Schneider.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.