Bumgarner pitches his way to NLCS MVP

David J. Phillip/APGiants ace Madison Bumgarner was named MVP of the NL Championship Series.

The big man they call MadBum is a playoff MVP.

Madison Bumgarner was chosen Most Valuable Player of the NL Championship Series on Thursday night following his latest display of postseason poise for the San Francisco Giants.

Bumgarner tossed eight solid innings in Game 5 and took home the prize after San Francisco rallied for a 6-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Travis Ishikawa's three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth.

The 6-foot-5 lefty also pitched shutout ball in a Game 1 win at St. Louis, getting the Giants off to a fast start in a best-of-seven series they won 4-1.

Now, they're headed to the World Series for the third time in five years, looking to add to the championships they captured in 2010 and 2012.

Bumgarner and the Giants will open the Fall Classic in Kansas City on Tuesday night.

Aside from an uncharacteristic blip in Game 3 of the NL Division Series against Washington, the shaggy-haired southpaw has been stellar in his third postseason.

The Giants' remarkable 10-game postseason winning streak ended on one bad toss by their best pitcher when Bumgarner's wild throw past third base after fielding a bunt helped the Nationals rally.

San Francisco still moved on, and Bumgarner went 7 2-3 innings for a 3-0 victory in the NLCS opener at Busch Stadium.

The 18-game winner has thrived in this postseason for a Giants team down a pair of pitching stars that helped carry them to their previous two titles. Right-hander Matt Cain is recovering from elbow surgery, and Tim Lincecum was demoted to the bullpen and has not been used in October.

At 6-5 and 235 pounds, Bumgarner is a huge reason the Giants keep advancing.

He tossed a four-hit shutout with 10 strikeouts in an 8-0 win at Pittsburgh in the NL wild-card game, and has kept that momentum going.

Now, he gets to lead the Giants to the World Series for the third time — and he's shined on that stage before.

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