Madison Bumgarner tweaked his mechanics and nearly replicated his dazzling performance from the 2010 World Series on Thursday, throwing seven scoreless innings in a 2-0 win over the Detroit Tigers at AT&T Park.
The 23-year-old lefty surrendered two hits while fanning eight Tigers batters as the Giants grabbed a commanding 2-0 lead in the World Series. The two hits were the fewest a Giants starter has ever allowed in a World Series game.
“What a job he did,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “He had great poise out there.”
Bochy raised some eyebrows this week when he named Bumgarner as his Game 2 starter. Bumgarner was shelled in his first two postseason outings this year, allowing 10 earned runs in eight innings pitched.
But with 10 days in between starts, Bumgarner was able to iron out the wrinkles in his mechanics with pitching coach Dave Righetti and he extended his World Series scoreless innings streak to 15. Bumgarner tossed eight shutout innings as a 21-year-old in Game 4 of 2010 World Series against the Texas Rangers.
Any doubts about Bumgarner were mollified in the top of the first inning when he struck out the first two Tigers batters and induced a groundout from Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera.
“I think that might have been a momentum shifter for me,” Bumgarner said. “I had some trouble in the second, third and fourth innings of the last couple starts.”
The Tigers had a chance to do some damage in the top of the second when Bumgarner beaned Prince Fielder and Delmon Young doubled down the left-field line. But third base coach Gene Lamont waved the 275-pound first baseman home on Young’s hit and Buster Posey reached back and applied the tag as Fielder slid past him inches from home plate.
“It took two perfect throws to get him,” Bochy said.
Bumgarner then popped up Jhonny Peralta and fanned Avisail Garcia to escape the inning unscathed.
Tigers pitcher Doug Fister received a scare in the bottom of the second when Gregor Blanco nailed a line drive off the top of his head, a play that was eerily similar to the comebacker that fractured A’s pitcher Brandon McCarthy’s skull in September. But Fister emerged unharmed and he popped up Bumgarner to escape a bases-loaded jam.
Fister went on to retire the next 11 Giants batters and Bumgarner sat down 10 of 11 Tigers hitters over the same stretch.
The Giants finally broke the scoreless tie in the bottom of seventh when Hunter Pence crossed the plate on a 4-6-3 double play with the bases full. Blanco loaded up the bases when he stuck a bunt inches from the foul line halfway in between third and home. The Giants added a second run one inning later when Angel Pagan scored on a Pence sacrifice fly.
Bochy turned things over to the bullpen in the eighth and Santiago Casilla and Sergio Romo retired the last six batters in order. “It’s a best-of-seven, we’re up 2-0,” Bochy said. “That’s the way we have to look at it.”