DETROIT (Reuters) - Shutout for the second straight game by the San Francisco Giants and on the brink of being swept from the World Series, the defiant Detroit Tigers rolled out every cliché in the sporting book of comebacks on Saturday.
From every corner of the Tigers locker room, stunned players searched for words to explain how they had stumbled into a 3-0 hole in the best-of-seven series and when they could not offer up an explanation fell back on the time-worn classics, including “it’s never over, until it’s over.”
Unless the toothless Tigers can rediscover some bite in the next 24 hours, the World Series could over as soon as Sunday with Game Four at a Comerica Park.
Detroit’s bats have gone colder than the chilly Michigan weather.
Beaten 2-0 on just two hits in San Francisco on Thursday, the return home did little to inspire the Tigers as they were beaten again by the same score on Sunday, stretching their scoreless run to 18 straight innings.
Shutout just twice during the 162-game regular season, Detroit became the first team since 1966 Los Angeles Dodgers to be blanked in back-to-back World Series games.
”We’ve had our backs against the wall before,“ said closer Phil Cock, glaring at reporters. ”We haven’t done anything easy all year so might as well do it the hard way.
“There ain’t no quit in any of us. No one is going to stop fighting. That right there is a huge key and we have that.”
The biggest problem for the Tigers has been a lack of production from their biggest bats.
Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera, the first player in 45-years to lead the American League in home runs, RBI and batting average and Prince Fielder, Detroit’s prized off-season signing, combined for 74 homers during the regular season.
But the two sluggers are a combined 3-for-19 in the World Series while Detroit has managed a single run off Giants starters.
”I don’t make excuses,“ said Fielder. ”If I knew (what was wrong) we wouldn’t be doing it. We’re just not getting it done. It’s still baseball you have to come out and play hard.
“That’s all you can really do, we don’t get to write the script.”
No team has ever clawed their way back from a 3-0 deficit to win a World Series.
In fact, only once has a team rallied from 3-0 down to win a best-of-seven playoff series, the Boston Red Sox coming back to shock the New York Yankees in the 2004 American League Championship Series.
”We’ve won four games in a row before but we’re just going to take it one game at a time and come out tomorrow and be ready to play,“ said Tigers right fielder Andy Dirks. ”Sometimes all it takes is one little bounce here or there.
”Tomorrow if we win, that’s the momentum going our way that’s what we’re looking to do and take it one game at a time and see where it ends up.
“All it takes is one at bat to get everybody rolling again. One big inning here, one big something there and the momentum switches and that is what this game is, a game of momentum.”
Editing by Alastair Himmer