JOSH DUBOW, AP Sports Writer
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Doug Fister took the Giants’ best shot without even flinching.
Fister overcame a line-drive single off his head to take a shutout bid into the seventh inning for Detroit before the Tigers lost Game 2 of the World Series 2-0 to San Francisco on Thursday night.
Fister ended up with the hard-luck loss when he allowed a leadoff single to Hunter Pence in the seventh and reliever Drew Smyly was unable to strand him in part because of a perfect bunt that never rolled foul.
It was remarkable that Fister was even in the game that long after it looked as if he could have been knocked out in a scary moment in the second inning. Gregor Blanco hit a line drive that struck Fister just above the right ear with a runner on first and two outs. The ball ricocheted into short center for a single.
“Whoa!” umpire Dan Iassogna said as he popped out from behind the plate, adding: “Doug, you OK?” when he got to the mound.
Fister looked unfazed by the blow and remained in the game after being checked out by a trainer, manager Jim Leyland and pitching coach Jeff Jones.
Fister then walked Brandon Crawford to load the bases but escaped the jam by retiring fellow pitcher Madison Bumgarner on a soft looper to shortstop Jhonny Peralta.
The 6-foot-8 right-hander didn’t allow another hit until Pablo Sandoval singled with two outs in the sixth, retiring 12 straight batters after the walk to Crawford.
Leyland sent Fister back out for the seventh with 108 pitches to face the right-handed hitting Pence before a run of three straight lefties came to the plate. Pence ended Fister’s night with a single to left field on his 114th pitch.
That proved costly. Smyly walked Brandon Belt, and Blanco reached on a bunt single that Smyly, catcher Gerald Laird and third baseman Miguel Cabrera tried to will foul. But the ball tantalizingly stayed on the dirt between the foul line and infield grass before rolling to a stop in fair territory, loading the bases with no outs for the Giants.
Leyland chose to play the infield back to avoid a big inning. But that decision allowed a run to score when Brandon Crawford bounced into a 4-6-3 double play.
Fister allowed one run and four hits with one walk with three strikeouts. He became the first Tigers pitcher to last at least five innings in five straight postseason starts. But he is winless in three postseason outings this year because the bullpen blew leads his first two times on the mound.
The Tigers now find themselves in a daunting 2-0 hole that only one World Series team has overcome since the New York Mets did it in 1986 because the offense generated nothing against Bumgarner and the bullpen.
Detroit’s best chance at scoring was thwarted by another questionable decision. With burly Prince Fielder at first base with no outs in the second, Delmon Young grounded a double down the left-field line. Blanco picked up the ball after it caromed off the fence in foul territory and threw to second baseman Marco Scutaro near third base.
Third-base coach Gene Lamont waved Fielder home and he was tagged out by catcher Buster Posey just before touching the plate. Fielder had been sent home from first just three times on 10 doubles. The fourth one proved costly.
(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)