ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — A half-hour after Jeff Francoeur hit an easy fly ball for the final out, a most curious sight began to unfold in front of the San Francisco dugout.
General manager Brian Sabean and maybe 100 members of the Giants staff gathered on the grass after Game 2 Thursday night, posing for a group picture around a huge trophy.
Moments later, the party picked up. Family members joined in. Adults ran the bases, a toddler made a headfirst dive toward home plate. Hugs and high-fives for all. Hundreds of fans cheered from the box seats, horns honked outside AT&T Park.
Sure looked like the Giants had just won the World Series.
They will, too, unless the Texas Rangers can reverse their fortunes at home. Down 2-0, the hitters are slumping, the bullpen is a wreck and the manager is being criticized. A team that did so well in the AL playoffs got battered 11-7 in the opener, then embarrassed 9-0.
“We’re not playing the same. I don’t know what it is,” Texas slugger Nelson Cruz said. “I wish I could tell you. The way we’re playing, it’s different. It’s not us.”
Neither is San Francisco, apparently. The week began with many fans wondering whether the Giants could hit enough to win — so far, they’ve become the first NL team to score at least nine runs in back-to-back World Series games.
“Well, it’s nice to do it a little bit easier. As you know, we don’t do things easy,” manager Bruce Bochy said.
Bochy and the Giants were inside the clubhouse while the postgame festivities took place on the field, so nobody could accuse them of celebrating too early.
Outside, members of the Giants organization whooped it up. They stood around the NL championship trophy — the official picture might’ve been a matter of logistics since there’s no guarantee the Series will return to San Francisco.
“See you next year,” some giddy fans told ushers on their way out of the stadium. Others chanted “Sweep! Sweep!”
“We have a lot of baseball left, but if anything to see how these fans have come out and brought the enthusiasm, energy, it’s been a lot of fun here playing down the stretch,” Bochy said.
After Friday’s break, Colby Lewis is set to start Game 3 Saturday night against Giants lefty Jonathan Sanchez. It will be the first Series game in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Lewis will try to stop San Francisco’s scoring spree. Texas has been tagged for 20 runs, the most allowed in a franchise’s first two World Series games, STATS LLC said. Colorado set the previous record of 15 runs in 2007.
Vladimir Guerrero will rejoin the Texas lineup at Rangers Ballpark, where the designated hitter will be used. He drove in the first run of this World Series with a single off Tim Lincecum’s leg, but also made two errors in right field and sat out Game 2.
“I don’t think we caught any breaks yet,” Texas manager Ron Washington said. “There’s still a lot of baseball left to be played. We certainly don’t feel like we’re defeated.”
“They took care of us in their ballpark, now we’re headed to ours,” he said.
Texas was one of baseball’s best home teams this year, the Giants were among the top road clubs.
“Obviously they’re more comfortable where they play. That’s their home ballpark. They’re used to having the DH,” Giants second baseman Freddy Sanchez said.