It may have been Fireworks Night at the ballpark, but Madison Bumgarner kicked off the festivities early in the San Francisco Giants’ 6-5 win over the Colorado Rockies on Friday night.
The crowd at AT&T Park’s 250th straight sellout saw a different meaning to “Pitchers Park” as Bumgarner’s power at the plate provided the support he needed to get the win. His first at-bat, a sacrifice fly to deep left center, sent the first San Francisco run across the plate. In the fourth, with two Brandons and a Morse on base, the southpaw sent Jorge De La Rosa’s two-out, 3-2 fastball sailing into the bleachers to give the Giants a 6-3 lead. Bumgarner finished the game with five RBI and is now tied for fifth-most on the team.
“I always try to swing hard in case I happen to run into something, and fortunately I ran into a couple today,” he said.
And on the bat flip?
“I was so excited to run into something, I’ll have to go back and look at it. I don’t remember.”
Bumgarner’s slam marked the third home run of his career and the second time a pitcher has hit a grand slam at AT&T Park. The first came off the bat of Shawn Estes in the 2000 Giants’ 18-0 shelling of the Montreal Expos.
While Bumgarner’s outing on the hill didn’t mirror Estes’ complete game shut-out, he gave himself enough run support to get the win. The Rockies jumped out to an early lead; Bumgarner picked off Josh Rutledge at first, and Crawford’s race to tag him out gave enough time to let Brandon Barnes score from third.
Colorado added on to their lead in the third inning. Rutledge hit his second single in his 3-for-4 night and Carlos Gonzalez smacked a long home run into McCovey Cove. It was the 29th splash hit from an opposing player and Gonzalez’s fourth home run of the season. That was the last run allowed from Bumgarner, who lasted six innings while walking two and striking out seven. The Giants’ ace finished his night with four runs and nine hits allowed.
“The last two innings, probably, I felt the best, just starting to put it together, but it was just a battle in the first two innings,” said Bumgarner. “It was really a battle the whole game.”
Pablo Sandoval, now batting .143, went 1-for-4 with two strikeouts on the night. The Giants’ third baseman also committed his third throwing error of the season, allowing Nolan Arenado to advance to second and later score on a single from Drew Stubbs. The lack of production at the plate and flaws in the field aren’t helping Sandoval’s cause for a huge contract. Brian Sabean said Tuesday that contract talks had been put on hold, and the Kung Fu Panda has gone 2-for-15 in this homestand so far.
“I know he’s had a lot going on. They’re all human, you don’t get off to a great start and you start trying too hard,” said manager Bruce Bochy. “The first two or three weeks are critical…they need to get their confidence going, and a few hits and when that happens, you see these guys loosen up a little bit.”
Tomorrow the Giants will return to AT&T Park for their first Saturday home game of the season, as they face the Rockies for Game 2 of this weekend series. Matt Cain will look to bounce back after two tough outings this season, giving up three home runs to the Los Angeles Dodgers in his last start. He will face Brett Anderson, who is coming off his second quality start, giving up five runs (three earned) over six innings.
First pitch at 1:05pm.