SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Gregor Blanco is chasing down line drives in left field, laying down perfect bunts and making run-saving relay throws.
He has had a hand, glove and bat in just about everything so far in his first World Series to give the San Francisco Giants a commanding 2-0 lead against the Tigers as the Series shifts to the Motor City.
Blanco surprised himself when his bunt single dribbled about halfway down the third base line and stopped next to the white chalk, inches fair. It helped get the Giants on the board in the seventh inning of Thursday's 2-0 victory — and all he meant to do was move the runner over.
Several Detroit players stood over the ball, almost in disbelief.
"I don't know about baseball gods, but I'll tell you one thing: I hope the ball keeps bouncing our way," reliever Jeremy Affeldt said. "It's been huge for us."
Blanco has been a beneficiary of all that good fortune, all right. And even a scary moment, when his line drive struck Tigers starter Doug Fister just above the right ear in the second inning but the pitcher stayed in the game.
The 28-year-old Blanco reached on that perfect bunt in the seventh inning, then the Giants went ahead moments later on Brandon Crawford's bases-loaded double-play grounder.
No arguing, the best bunt of his career.
"It has to be," Blanco said, "and I think the best at-bat of my career, too."
He sure has helped this city move on from Melky Cabrera, suspended 50 games in August for a positive testosterone test and left off the postseason roster once he was eligible to return.
Blanco ran to first as third baseman and Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera, catcher Gerald Laird and pitcher Drew Smyly converged on the ball but it settled on the dirt — a space of maybe six inches — between the chalk and the grass.
As soon as he hit it he told himself it had to be headed foul. The ball cooperated, though he's not sure how.
"I was joking with Roberto Kelly when I got to first base, 'We practiced that today,'" Blanco said. "That was a perfect bunt. I wasn't really trying to do that. I think it was just meant to be and I'm thankful that I did it."
Now, because of plays like that, the Giants go into Game 3 on Saturday ahead for a change. They rallied from behind in both the division series against Cincinnati and NL championship series with the defending champion St. Louis Cardinals.
"You hate to say it, but sometimes you need some luck," said Ryan Vogelsong, who will start Game 3 at Comerica Park. "I used to be one of those guys who said you create your own luck, but sometimes in this game that's not the case and the ball has to bounce your way."
San Francisco also made a great play at the plate to save a run in the second. Had Prince Fielder scored then Detroit might have grabbed some early momentum on the heels of an 8-3 loss in Wednesday's opener.
After Fielder was hit by a pitch from Madison Bumgarner leading off the second, Blanco — who made a pair of pretty diving catches in left field during Wednesday's win — chased down Delmon Young's double but overthrew the first cutoff man. Second baseman Marco Scutaro wisely hustled over to third base, however, and caught Blanco's throw before making a perfect relay home to catcher Buster Posey just in time to nail a sliding Fielder at the plate.