AT&T PARK — Madison Bumgarner was surprised when he was told that he’d used his cutter 19 times against the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday. He doesn’t pay attention to that kind of thing.
All he knew was that everything — from rhythm to timing to stuff — felt good.
“I actually felt a little better this time out than last time,” Bumgarner said. “Everything as a whole felt even better today.”
After getting history out of the way early — striking out D.J. LeMahieu for his 1,500th career K — Bumgarner mowed down seven more Rockies through seven shutout innings, extending his scoreless innings streak to 16. For the 52nd time in his career, though, Bumgarner was saddled with a no-decision. The only run that scored was a Brandon Crawford walk-off home run to send the Giants into the second half with a 1-0 win, their eighth in their last 10 games.
“It would have been nice to get him a win,” Crawford said. “He pitched well enough that he should have gotten one … He looked like vintage Bum out there.”
Starting just his fifth game this season after returning from the disabled list due to a broken pinky, Bumgarner was simply scintillating. He retired 14 men in a row to start the game, striking out five and getting first-pitch strikes on 11 of the first 14 men he faced.
“He had everything working,” Crawford said. “His slider’s been a lot sharper his last couple outings. His curveball’s been looking a lot better, and he’s locating stuff.”
In his first two starts coming off the disabled list, Bumgarner allowed six earned runs and 14 hits in 11 1/3 innings. In his last three starts, has a 1.29 ERA.
He carried a perfect game into the fifth before allowing a slicing two-out double to left by Carlos Gonzalez and then back-to-back walks. Bumgarner got out of the jam by striking out his opposite number in Kyle Freeland for his sixth K of the night — the 253rd time in his career he’s struck out a batter with the bases loaded.
Of his 101 pitches on Wednesday, he threw 66 for strikes, got 12 swings and misses and 18 called strikes.
“I’m starting to feel like I’m coming along good,” said Bumgarner, whose fastball sat between 91 and 93 on the night.
Meanwhile, the Giants (42-39) twice had men at first and third with two outs — including with hot-hitting Crawford at the plate in the sixth — but couldn’t get a run across.
Crawford, though, came up big against reliever Harrison Musgrave. Facing the Rockies left-hander for just the third time in his career, he deposited a 1-1 slider on top of the green siding of Levi’s Landing for his third career walk-off home run, and his second career walk-off home run against Colorado (38-42). The last time the Giants hit a walk-off home run against the Rockies was Aug. 27, 2014, courtesy of Buster Posey.
“We were just excited,” Crawford said. “We have a day game tomorrow, so everybody just wants to go home.”
San Francisco finishes the first half of the season three games over .500 and just 4.5 games behind the first-place Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League West, despite being 20th in the Major Leagues in runs, 13th in on-base percentage and 15th in team ERA.
With a fully-healthy and fresh Bumgarner, the imminent return of Johnny Cueto and the emergence of a largely-youthful rotation that’s gone 15 games without allowing more than three runs in a given start, it’s very possible that the Giants are poised to make a run.
“We should,” Crawford said. “We’re at home, and good teams play well at home. We’ve been on a roll here since we’ve gotten back.”
San Francisco has won 14 of its last 17 games at AT&T Park, where they will play 11 of their next 17.
“The spot we’re in right now,” Bumgarner said, “is not a bad place to be.”