There is something about watching Madison Bumgarner pitch, when he is pitching well. He looks so relaxed throwing the ball that it seems like it is coming out of his hand in a leisurely way. That is a misconception. Madison struck out 10 today in 7 innings and did not walk anyone. He threw first pitch strikes to 19 of the 25 batters he faced, and 77 of the 107 pitches he threw were strikes (72%).
Madison breezed through the first 2 innings, striking out Joe Mauer (the first of three K's for Mr. Mauer vs. Madison). The Giants, after their fashion lately, did not hesitate in putting up 2 runs in the first inning, aided by Minnesota's defensive sloppiness. In the third, Eduardo Escobar dropped his bat head and found a hit. I dropped my bat head once, it hit my foot and hurt like hell. Danny Santana singled, but a way wide throw from Hunter Pence let Escobar go to third, whereupon he scored on a sac fly. Not entirely sure why that should be an earned run, but it was. There was only one more Minnesota hit off of Madison. George Kontos came in and pitched the eighth and ninth innings, giving up only 1 hit and striking out 3. It is helpful if your opposition does not touch the ball in 13 of their 27 outs.
No matter though, as the Giants came back with a Hunter Pence solo home run in the bottom of the third, then added some more as Brandon Crawford scored Michael Morse from second on a deep sac fly in the fourth, Michael Morse cleared Madbum, Gregor Blanco and Hunter Pence with a double in the fifth and Tyler Colvin batted in Pablo Sandoval from third in the eighth. Final score 8 - 1!
Here are some batting lines:
Michael Morse - 3 doubles and a sac fly (4 rbi)
Hunter Pence - 3 for 4 (3 runs scored)
Gregor Blanco - 3 for 4
Pablo Sandoval - 2 for 4 (1 rbi)
So we swept the Twinkies, and swept the other American League team we have played, the Cleveburgers. Today was a great example of how we have been winning games. We got a bunch of hits, but rbi's spread over the line-up. Buster, our linch-pin, is in a bit of a slump (but did get a hit and score a run) and we win anyway. Santiago Casilla, a vital cog in our relief, goes down and we win anyway (and Kontos looks ready to fill some big shoes here). Of course, our starters are giving us enough innings so that our relief is not beat up - that's huge. Today, Madison was truly ace-like. Can't wait until he pitches again.