Wizards

Giants take 2-0 lead over Tigers in Game 3

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Giants take 2-0 lead over Tigers in Game 3

DETROIT (AP) Gregor Blanco hit a run-scoring triple off the wall in right-center field in the second and scored on Brandon Crawford's single as the San Francisco Giants took a 2-0 lead over the Detroit Tigers after three innings in World Series Game 3 on Saturday night.

Having swept the first two games at home, the Giants got off to a quick start against Anibal Sanchez. No team has ever lost the first three games and rebounded to win the title.

Right-hander Ryan Vogelsong, following lefties Barry Zito and Madison Bumgarner, allowed three hits in the first three innings and induced two inning-ending, double-play grounders.

While Detroit never trailed during its AL championship series sweep of the New York Yankees, the Tigers have not led in the World Series.

Vogelsong, 2-0 with 1.42 ERA in three postseason starts, has traveled through 10 minor league cities plus two in Japan over the last 15 years, also making winter ball stops at the Arizona Fall League and Venezuela. In between, the 35-year-old has gone 37-38 during parts of eight seasons with the Giants and Pittsburgh.

Sanchez, acquired from Miami in July, showed rust from his 12-day layoff. He walked Hunter Pence on four pitches starting the second. One out later, Blanco pulled a full-count pitch off an advertising board on the fence.

Detroit pulled the infield in - manager Jim Leyland was criticized by some for leaving his middle infielders back with Game 2 scoreless in the seventh - and Hector Sanchez struck out. Brandon Crawford, the No. 9 hitter, lofted a single to short center that Austin Jackson overran for an error.

With the crowd quieted and the Tigers' infielders looking dismayed, Sanchez retired Angel Pagan on an inning-ending grounder to first.

Sanchez allowed three hits in the first three innings, struck out four and walked one, throwing 62 pitches - 31 in the second.

San Francisco, seeking its second title in three years, is brimming with confidence. The Giants entered 8-1 in the postseason when scoring first.

Detroit was 26-25 when facing left-handed starters during the season and 62-49 against righties, according to STATS LLC. The Tigers entered 4-0 at home in the postseason and threatened in the first against Vogelsong.

Quintin Berry walked with one out. Miguel Cabrera, presented with a dark blue and gold crown by Major League Baseball before the game in honor of his Triple Crown, singled to left. But Prince Fielder bounced into a 4-6-3 double play, dropping to 0 for 5 with runners on in the series and 1 for 19 versus righties in the postseason.

Omar Infante hit a broken-bat single with one out in the third and Jackson reached on an infield hit, beating Pablo Sandoval's throw on a four-hopper to third. Berry hit into a 4-6-3 double play on the next pitch.

With the shift to the AL ballpark, Giants manager Bruce Bochy inserted Hector Sanchez as his designated hitter in the No, 8 slot and dropped Crawford to ninth.

Alternating catchers, the Tigers went with Game 1 starter Alex Avila in place of Gerald Laird and made two switches in the outfield. Berry started in left, with Delmon Young moving to DH, and Andy Dirks replaced Avisail Garcia in right.

The gametime temperature of 47 was a 17-degree drop from Game 2. The Tigers' starters wore long sleeves and the Giants' regulars a mixture of long and three-quarters, with only Vogelsong in short sleeves. Four of the six umpires wore gloves, with plate umpire Fieldin Culbreth and Brian O'Nora at first going with bare hands.

Matt Cain, coming off a Game 7 win over St. Louis in the NL championship series, starts for San Francisco in Game 4 on Sunday night. Max Scherzer starts for Detroit, his first appearance since completing the Tigers' ALCS sweep of the Yankees.

NOTES: Sandoval singled in the first and grounded out in the third, leaving him 6 for 9 in the Series. ... Cabrera has reached safely in his first 23 postseason games, two shy of Boog Powell's record, according to STATS LLC. ... Zooey Deschanel, who sang ``The Star-Spangled Banner'' before Game 4 last year, became only the second person in a decade to perform the national anthem before Series games in consecutive years. John Legend sang it before Game 2 in 2009 and the 2010 opener.

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How the Wizards have taken Raptors big man Serge Ibaka out of the series on offense

How the Wizards have taken Raptors big man Serge Ibaka out of the series on offense

The Wizards-Raptors first round playoff series has evolved to feature the emergence of several players who started off slowly including Bradley Beal, Marcin Gortat and Kelly Oubre, Jr. The opposite has happened for Toronto big man Serge Ibaka.

After Ibaka lit up the Wizards for 23 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks in Game 1, there has been a disappearance. His scoring has gone missing and it's a big reason why the Wizards have won two straight games and earned a 2-2 series split.

Head coach Scott Brooks knows Ibaka well from their days in Oklahoma City. He helped develop Ibaka and has since watched from afar as his game has changed to include a consistent outside game.

Brooks has on several occasions referred to Ibaka as one of the best three-point shooting big men in the league. The numbers back that up. Last season, he shot 39.1 percent from three on 4.0 attempts per game, excellent for a 6-foot-10 power forward.

This season that number dipped to 36 percent, but he hit 41 percent of his threes in his final 16 games of the regular season. That carried over into the playoffs when he went 3-for-4 in Game 1 as part of an 8-for-11 shooting night overall.

The Wizards made a point to take away those outside shots following their series-opening defeat. The way they are doing that is by crowding him when he gets the ball, even if it means him getting past the initial defender.

"You want to make sure you meet him on the catch. You want to take away his shot," Brooks said. "When he gets open shots, they are money. He's going to knock them down... We did a good job of meeting him on his catch and making him put the ball on the floor with his left hand. You can live with the results."

After his 23-point outburst in Game 1, Ibaka has scored just 20 points total in the last three games. He has gone 2-for-6 from three.

The Wizards are taking away his shot attempts in general. He took 11 shots in each of the first two games of this series, but just four in Game 3 and five in Game 4. In Game 3 he had three points and three turnovers and on Sunday he had seven points and four turnovers.

Here are two examples of the Wizards' defense on Ibaka. On this first play, Markieff Morris meets Ibaka as soon as he catches the ball and the result is a turnover:

On this next play, Morris follows Ibaka all the way to the rim and even though he goes up on a pump fake, Morris recovers to alter Ibaka's shot and force a miss:

The Wizards, however, did get away with one against Ibaka. He was left wide open for a three in the final minute, but the shot rimmed out:

As the first two plays demonstrate, Morris deserves a lot of credit for the Wizards' success against Ibaka. He has the size and mobility to keep up with him and is willing to use contact to his advantage.

"Just playing the tendencies," Morris said. "We're making them do things they are uncomfortable with and are getting better results."

Ibaka was fourth on the Raptors this season in points per game and third in shot attempts. He is their third option behind All-Star guards Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. If the Wizards can continue to lock up Ibaka, it will be difficult for the Raptors to beat them.

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MORE FROM WIZARDS-RAPTORS SERIES:

OUBRE IS HELPING THE WIZARDS WIN IN MANY WAYS

WALL WAS DUNKING ALL OVER RAPTORS BIG MEN

MUST-SEE MOMENTS FROM GAME 4 WIN

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Death Row D.C. and the Wizards are back

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Death Row D.C. and the Wizards are back

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hughes and Chris Miller were joined by Julie Donaldson to break down the Wizards' wins in Games 3 and 4.

Bradley Beal, Otto Porter and Marcin Gortat are back and the Wizards are a different team because of it. Plus, how regaining their Death Row D.C. mentality has changed this series.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!