San Fran. Giants Humiliate Texas Rangers 9-0

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Game 2 of the World Series was a blowout Thursday night. The San Francisco Giants dominated the Texas Rangers with strong pitching and a late-inning hitting spree. The final score: 9-0. The Giants now lead the series 2-0.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, host:

If there was any doubt that the San Francisco Giants are for real, it's gone now. The Giants shut out the Texas Rangers last night 9-0, taking a commanding two games to none lead in the World Series. NPR's Tom Goldman was there, and he's with us now from San Francisco.

Hi, Tom.

TOM GOLDMAN: Good morning.

KELLY: So the Giants obviously did pretty well on offense last night. And I want to get to that in a second. But I want to start with pitching. Matt Cain was on the mound for San Francisco. Just how good was he?

GOLDMAN: He was really good. He doesn't get the publicity that two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum does, but San Francisco's manager, Bruce Bochy, said last night that Cain has been the team's most consistent starting pitcher. And he really showed it last night.

Cain pitched most of the game. He gave up only four hits, two walks. And he threw key pitches several times to get Rangers' batters to pop out, ending possible scoring threats by Texas. So great timely pitching. The relievers who came after him held Texas hitless.

And Texas manager Ron Washington was asked about, you know, why the Rangers are so ineffective at the plate. And he credited San Francisco pitching.

KELLY: Now, let me get back to the Giants' offense, because they are also playing great. Twenty runs in these first two games of the series - and 13 of those runs came in just two innings. What happened?

GOLDMAN: Amazing. The Giants scored 19 runs in six games in the National League Championship Series win over Philadelphia. Now they've scored, as you said, 20 in two games of the World Series. Go figure. And, you know, they're being aggressors versus the Texas pitchers. They're swinging the bats well. They're really in a groove.

And the other side of the equation, Texas pitching is pretty bad, especially the relief pitchers. And then there have been these offensive explosions. The fifth inning in game one, where the Giants scored six and turned a tight game into a laugher.

And then last night it was the eighth inning. It was great for San Francisco, embarrassing for Texas. Starting Texas pitcher C.J. Wilson pitched well, but he had to come out with a burst blister. And then the Rangers relievers walked in a couple of runs. They gave up a run-scoring single, double and triple - seven runs in all. A deluge.

KELLY: So not a happy week so far for the Rangers. What is their strategy for trying to not have a repeat performance of this in game three?

GOLDMAN: Well, they need to pitch better for sure. That's obvious. Short of that, you know, the manager has to take control in situations like that that are spinning out of control. He has to know when to pull a pitcher and put a new one in. And Ron Washington is being criticized for not doing that so well.

Game one, many thought he should have taken starter Cliff Lee out sooner before that deluge happened. Last night, when Texas pitchers just couldn't find the strike zone, it was painful. Washington could've put in his closer, Neftali Feliz, to stop the bleeding. He didn't.

And when he was asked about whether he thought he should do it, he said not at all.

KELLY: Well, Tom, you've been there watching. Are the Rangers doing anything well at this point? I mean, the score would seem to indicate no.

GOLDMAN: Yeah. Well, their starting pitching - C.J. Wilson, especially in game two, he was good until he had to leave. I'll tell you, Mary Louise, the one thing they're doing really well so far is staying calm in defeat. Here's a clip of tape of Josh Hamilton after last night's game.

Mr. C.J. WILSON (Pitcher, Texas Rangers): People on the outside don't understand, you know, it's - how we feel, how we react to the situation, you know. You put it behind you and you move on. You know, we get paid to win baseball games, and we get paid to forget about the ones we lose and move forward to the next one.

GOLDMAN: So they're not panicking. They know they're going back to Texas for three games, they hope. And you know, they feel comfortable there. They hope things will turn around.

KELLY: OK. Thanks so much.

GOLDMAN: You're welcome.

KELLY: That's NPR's Tom Goldman in San Francisco.

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