SAN FRANCISCO -- The Detroit Tigers lost Game 2 of the World Series on Thursday night, but they know it could have been worse -- much, much worse.
In the second inning at AT&T Park, the Giants' Gregor Blanco hit a line drive that glanced off Tigers pitcher Doug Fister's head and caromed into center field.
The Tigers rushed to the mound to check on their pitcher, and he passed the concussion tests sufficiently enough to remain in the game.
Fister then gave his teammates a chance to even the series, matching Madison Bumgarner zero for zero until giving way to the bullpen after Hunter Pence led off the seventh inning with a single to left field.
The Giants scored on a Brandon Crawford double-play ground out later in the inning and then added a run in the eighth to win 2-0.
Afterward in the Tigers clubhouse, the question everyone wanted to know: How was Fister?
"I'm fine," he said. "I got a little bump, but there was no damage. It's just a matter of I threw a changeup that he squared up, and it came right back at me."
Fister tried to get his glove up, but the ball came back too quickly. He said he immediately knew what had happened and that hit definitely hurt.
But, he added, "It was one of those things where I had to convince everyone else that I was fine."
Fister said he expected to be reexamined by team doctors on the trip back to Detroit but was sure they would not find anything wrong.
Tigers manager Jim Leyland said the play obviously concerned him, even after Fister passed the tests on the mound.
"You always worry about something like that after it happens," Leyland said. "Maybe you're all right, and then you come and sit in the dugout and all of a sudden you've got a back headache or something, and that puts a different light on things. He was fine, and he pitched outstanding."
Justin Verlander said he was worried, too.
"It scares me," the Tigers ace and Game 1 loser said. "Nobody likes seeing that, especially a pitcher. Thankfully, it was a glancing blow, and he was all right."
Left fielder Delmon Young added, "I didn't know what happened at first, then I found out he got hit in the head. But he looked O.K. Glad he's all right, and then I felt bad for the baseball."
It was eerily similar to the play last month that resulted in brain surgery for A's pitcher Brandon McCarthy, sidelining him for rest of season. McCarthy was watching Thursday night, and he Tweeted in response to people suggesting the Tigers should have removed Fister from the game immediately.
"... really tough spot for them to be in there. World Series man, but dealing with something so dangerous," McCarthy said in his tweet.
Fister said he never saw any stars and that his biggest concern after the ball got away was where it ended up.
He walked the next batter, Crawford, before retiring Bumgarner to end the inning.
In his six-plus innings, Fister allowed just one run and four hits and threw 114 pitches.
In the end, he tried to keep a positive frame of mind after the Tigers left San Francisco down two games to zero in the series.
"It was a tough night," Fister said. "Obviously, we had a couple of balls that didn't go our way. But that's O.K. We're going to have a good, safe trip back to Detroit, get some work in tomorrow and come back for Game 3."
The Tigers had a chance to give Fister a lead early in Game 2 when Young doubled into the left-field corner. But Buster Posey tagged out Prince Fielder, who was trying to score from first on the play even through there were none out.
"The umpire made a great call," Leyland said.