Pitching on his home mound for the first time since the July 31 trade deadline, Bumgarner quickly reminded them why they had so dreaded his departure. The left-hander turned in seven innings of one-hit ball, taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning as he mowed down batters in a 5-0 win over the Philadelphia Phillies.
“This is an extremely special place to me,” Bumgarner said. “I appreciate everything that these fans have done for me. It’s an awesome place to play.”
While Bumgarner dominated on the bump, he also flashed the bat, reaching base in all three of his plate appearances and scoring a run.
“I felt good at the plate tonight,” Bumgarner said. “I was just able to hang in there and grind out a few at-bats.”
The starter’s complete performance helped the Giants (57-59) snap a four-game losing streak and gain ground in the NL wild card race, now three games back of the Milwaukee Brewers for the second spot.
Behind Bumgarner, the Giants bats showed signs of life. Batting .239 with 36 runs in their last 13 games, San Francisco logged 10 hits and five walks to run up the score on the Phillies and back a vintage Bumgarner outing. Mike Yastrzemski led the charge, going 2-for-4 with a two-run double and a long solo home run.
A welcome sight in the midst of a 1-6 stretch to begin August, Bumgarner retired the first ten men he faced before walking Rhys Hoskins in the fourth. He wouldn’t allow a hit until the sixth when Cesar Hernandez pinch-hit for opposing starter Aaron Nola and knocked a single into center field.
“I just want to win the game,” Bumgarner said. “I’m not out there for any personal achievements.”
The 85-pitch gem was a return to form for Bumgarner, who put up an uncharacteristic dud in his last start in Denver — ceding eight hits and five runs to the Colorado Rockies on August 3.
“That was extremely impressive,” Yastrzemski said. “He really commanded the entire game. That was fun to play behind.”
Manager Bruce Bochy said after the game that Bumgarner did extra work after his poor performance and that it factored into him being pulled before the eighth with only 85 pitches.
“You’ve seen him bounce back from rough starts as well as anybody,” Bochy said.
Excluding his bad start at hitter-friendly Coors Field, Bumgarner has been one of the best pitchers in baseball since the All-Star Break, allowing just nine runs in 35 innings for a 2.31 ERA. His performance Thursday night could serve to steady a rotation that has not been good as of late, with an 8.31 ERA in its last five starts.
At the dish, Bumgarner was one of several Giants hitters to register multiple good at-bats. With Brandon Crawford on first with a leadoff single in the third, Bumgarner saw nine pitches from Nola, lining the ninth pitch — a center-cut, two-seam fastball — into left to put runners on first and second.
“He did it all tonight,” Bochy said. “It’s hard to have a better game than he did. We needed it tonight because we were facing a really good pitcher.”
Two batters later, after a Brandon Belt RBI single, Yastrzemski got a hold of another misplaced fastball and shot a ball off the left field wall to score Bumgarner and Belt, giving the Giants a 3-0 lead.
“That’s a huge hit there,” Bochy said. “That’s what we’ve been missing. It took some pressure off all the guys.”
Yastrzemski struck again in the eighth, launching a 403-foot solo homer over the right-center wall and nearly into McCovey Cove.
“The rest of the games matter from here on out,” Yastrzemski said. “We’ve just got to take advantage of that and win as many of these games as we can.”
Still, despite the five-run win, the Giants have reason to be concerned. They went just 3-for-14 with runners in scoring position, continuing a trend of poor at-bats in the most important situations — .176 in their past 14 before Thursday with runners in scoring position.
With Trevor Gott bridging the gap to closer Will Smith — who hadn’t pitched in five days with the Giants constantly behind — five runs was all San Francisco would need to take the first game of a four-game set with the Phillies, with Gott and Smith combining to retire six of the seven batters they faced.
Joey Rickard also made his National League debut for the Giants after being called up before the game to replace the injured Steven Duggar. Rickard came in for Stephen Vogt in left field in the sixth and immediately had to field a fly ball in the midst of the then-no-hitter by Bumgarner.