The Giants returned home Monday night, opening up a ten game home stand beginning with a four game series against the Colorado Rockies. Great pitching coupled with just enough hitting was a winning combination as the Giants held on to beat the Rockies 2-1.
Madison Bumgarner (15-10) pitched effectively for six innings, giving up only one run on four hits while striking out six, but the young lefthander felt out of sync, and it was obvious early on with four walks over thefirst three innings, five overall.
“My mechanics were probably as bad as they’ve been all year.” Bumgarner explained after the game, “I was just trying to battle, make pitches, and keep battling every inning. I was fortunate to be able to make pitches when I needed to get out of it.”
Coming into the game Bumgarner was 0-3 with a 7.29 ERA over his last four starts, but even without his best stuff he was able to gut it out and get his first win since August 20th when he beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 2-1.
Bruce Bochy echoed his starting pitchers postgame comments saying, “I don’t think he was quite as sharp, but he competed very well out there and made pitches when he had too.”
In support of Bumgarner, the Giants offense knocked out nine hits but only managed two runs as they stranded eight runners on base.
Brandon Crawford led the charge for the offense going 2 for 3 with a double, a triple, and a run scored.
Crawford’s triple missed being a home run by six inches or less, hitting off of the top of the wall in dead centerfield.
In his second at bat, Crawford crushed another ball to centerfield but the ball landed in front of the fence and bounced over the wall.
If the ball would’ve stayed in the ballpark, Crawford would’ve easily had his second triple of the game and the Giants would’ve had a runner at third with nobody out.
As it turned out, Bumgarner failed to get the sacrifice bunt down and when Angel Pagan followed with a single to left, Crawford was gunned dow at the plate by Andrew Brown on a bang-bang play that could’ve gone either way.
The Giants would score a run the very next inning on three straight singles by Pablo Sandoval, Buster Posey, and Hunter Pence, but with runners on first and third and nobody out, they failed again to capitalize on the opportunity productive outs could’ve provided.
Along with his strong night at the plate, Crawford also made his presence known with his glove making tough plays look routine all night. Two big plays early included turning an unassisted double play to get Bumgarner out of a jam in the second inning, and then dazzling the crowd with a phenomenal play in the third when he ranged deep into the hole to throw out Jordan Pacheco.
Bochy had much praise for his young shortstop after the game.
“He did a great job, he swung the bat well.” When asked about his fielding, Bochy intimated that Crawford might be the best fielder in the game right now, “I don’t know who’s playing better defensively, I don’t.”
Along with the stellar defense, the bullpen once again played a vital role as Bochy used five relievers to get through the final three innings, finishing with Sergio Romo who earned his 12th save by retiring one batter in the ninth, securing the win for Bumgarner.
The win is Bumgarner’s 15th on the season, a career high, and it makes him the first lefty to win 15 games for the San Francisco Giants since Shawn Estes did it in 2000.
With the Dodgers idle on Monday, the win puts the Giants up eight games in the division and reduces their magic number to eight.
Game two of the series tomorrow night features Tim Lincecum (9-14) who will take the mound against Jeff Francis (5-5). Game time is 7:15pm.
(Unless otherwise noted, all quotes obtained first-hand.)