The San Francisco Giants lefty ace turned out a solid performance on Saturday afternoon, allowing two runs over 6.1 strong innings as San Francisco prevailed 7-2 over Los Angeles for its fifth win in the season’s first six games.
The performance didn’t come as much of a surprise, considering MadBum’s historically exceptional success against the Dodgers, particularly at Chavez Ravine. With a 1.86 ERA and five wins in seven starts at Dodger Stadium heading into the game, Bumgarner simply picked up right where he left off.
It certainly wasn’t the left-hander’s best outing against Los Angeles, but he did an excellent job of pitching out of a few tricky spots. Indeed, the Dodgers failed to capitalize on a two-out double by shortstop Hanley Ramirez in the first inning, and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez’s double to lead off the fourth also proved harmless.
Bumgarner certainly came out firing, but he also got plenty of help from his offense. The Giants, already second in the majors in runs scored heading into the game, hit three home runs, including a huge three-run blast by Pablo Sandoval in the fifth inning. Buster Posey and Michael Morse each added solo shots as well.
The victory didn’t come easy—until the fifth inning, that is. In the first, Ramirez ensured there would be no repeat of Friday’s first-inning fiasco for the Dodgers, turning a would-be single by Hunter Pence into a double play that took the Giants out of the inning.
But that would only delay the Giants’ scoring effort, as Brandon Crawford’s RBI groundout in the second made Dodgers starter Paul Maholm pay for his leadoff walk to Morse to begin the inning.
Morse followed that up with a go-ahead solo shot on the first pitch of the fourth inning, but that would only be a prelude to the offensive explosion in the following inning.
Oddly enough, Bumgarner started the rally with an opposite-field knock. Then, after Angel Pagan’s single through the left side and a Pence flyout, Maholm tried to sneak an 84 mph changeup past Sandoval on the inner half.
That pitch would prove to be Maholm’s last of the afternoon, with Sandoval—hitting from the right side—depositing the ball over the left field fence to give the Giants a 5-1 lead.
That proved to be all the Giants would need, thanks to Bumgarner’s masterful performance. Generally a groundout-inducing pitcher, MadBum only got several such outs that way in the game, but it didn’t really matter. For the most part, the Dodgers didn’t do much when they put the ball in the air, and Bumgarner added 10 strikeouts to help his cause, dominating the order from top to bottom.
That included Dodgers leadoff hitter Yasiel Puig, who homered off Bumgarner in the first meeting between the two last season. Since then, however, Bumgarner has held the distinct edge.
|Bumgarner vs. Puig|
|First three at-bats||Since|
|2-for-3, HR, RBI||1-for-9, 4 K|
On paper, Puig fared well against MadBum—he went 1-for-3. But that one hit was erased via a pickoff, and a pair of weak flyouts accounted for the other two outs.
Then, when Santiago Casilla came in to face Puig with the bases loaded and one out, the latter got jammed and only managed a shallow flyout that didn’t bring in a run. Pence then took care of the rest:
Giants fans are undoubtedly pleased with the solid pitching performance, but the offense was what really stood out on Saturday. The three homers aside, the Giants totaled 11 hits overall, in addition to six bases on balls. It was the third consecutive game in which San Francisco scored seven runs or more.
For all the talk about how the Giants would struggle to put up runs this season, they’ve been doing a pretty good job in that regard, especially with two outs. San Francisco came into the game hitting a ridiculous .536 (15-for-28) with runners in scoring position and two outs, best in the majors, and Pagan continued that trend with a two-out RBI double in the sixth.
The three homers didn’t hurt either.
The Giants will look to continue their winning ways in the series finale on Sunday. Matt Cain will face Zack Greinke as San Francisco looks for the series sweep.
All statistics courtesy of FanGraphs.
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