Giants ride Bumgarner to World Series win

The hero of the finals mixed up his pitches to perfection

By (Agencies)

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Published: Fri 31 Oct 2014, 10:54 AM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 11:01 PM

Madison Bumgarner insisted throughout the World Series that he felt great and was eager to take the ball any time San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy asked him to pitch. The 25-year-old ace starter was called upon for a third time in the series in Game Seven on Wednesday, closing out the Giants’ clinching victory over the Kansas City Royals with five innings of shutout relief.

After being named Most Valuable Player of the Fall Classic, Bumgarner was asked how it felt to pitch more than a third of his team’s innings in the Series, finishing the last game off with two days rest after throwing a 117-pitch shutout.

“You know what? I can’t lie to you any more,” the laid-back North Carolinian told reporters. “I’m a little tired now.” Bochy summoned Bumgarner to start the fifth inning and protect a 3-2 lead. The big lefty mixed up his pitches and set-up hitters to perfection.

“I was just concentrating on making pitches. I wasn’t thinking about how many innings I was going to go or how many pitches or anything like that. I was just thinking about getting outs.” Bochy was relieved to see Bumgarner mow down the Royals. “I was staying away from him every inning because I was hoping he wouldn’t go, ‘I’m starting to get a little tired’ because there is no way I would have taken him out unless he would have told me that.

“We just got on this horse and rode it.” Bumgarner breezed along until a tense moment in the bottom of the ninth when Alex Gordon’s two-out single got past center fielder Gregor Blanco for a two-base error that put the potential tying run on third base with Salvador Perez at bat. Cool as ever, Bumgarner analysed the situation. “We know they’re an aggressive team and that situation certainly helped push their aggressiveness,” he said. “I knew Perez was going to want to do something big.

“We tried to use that aggressiveness and throw our pitches up in the zone. It’s a little bit higher than high, I guess. And fortunately I was able to get some past him.”

Perez ended up hitting a high foul pop up that third baseman Pablo Sandoval caught to end the game and the series. Bumgarner wrote his name all over the record books with his World Series and overall postseason performance.

For the series, he went 2-0 with a save and a 0.43 ERA, yielding one run in 21 innings with one walk and 17 strikeouts. He lowered his career record World Series earned run average to an amazing 0.25, having allowed one run in 36 innings on 14 hits with five walks and 31 strikeouts — the best ERA among pitchers with at least 25 innings.

His World Series achievements added to a remarkable workload in a postseason in which he pitched a record 52 and two-thirds innings. Bumgarner also won the World Series with the Giants in 2010 and 2012.

After the game, Bochy had a quiet moment on the field with Bumgarner. “I really can’t remember too much about what I said, except I love him and what a warrior he is,” said Bochy.

“I just told him I just can’t believe what he accomplished through all this. He’s such a humble guy, and we rode him pretty good.”

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