KANSAS CITY: Another dazzling road victory for San Francisco pitcher Madison Bumgarner has staked the Giants an early edge as they bid for a third World Series title in five seasons.
The 25-year-old southpaw struck out five and scattered three hits over seven innings in San Francisco’s 7-1 rout of host Kansas City in the opener of Major League Baseball’s best-of-seven final.
Bumgarner stretched his record streak of scoreless playoff innings to 32 2/3 before surrendering a solo home run to Salvador Perez in the seventh inning, the first run he had allowed away from San Francisco since 2010 after a start that bedazzled Royals hitters.
“He’s special. He has got that flair for the spectacular,” said Giants slugger Hunter Pence, who smashed a two run homer.
Bumgarner has won his first three career World Series starts with dominant efforts, blanking Texas in 2010 and Detroit in 2012 to help the Giants win the title each year.
“Bum was superb,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “He was on top of his game, hitting his spots, had a good fastball going but his secondary pitches were good too, slider, curveball, changeup. He has good poise out there and he showed it. He doesn’t get flustered and he keeps coming at you.”
But even Bochy cannot explain how Bumgarner is so powerful in road games.
“Some things are hard to explain in this game. I can’t tell you anything that would make sense of it,” Bochy said. “He’s comfortable on the road. This is a big stage, a loud crowd, but he just keeps that maniacal focus you like when he has to and he’s as good as anybody I’ve seen at doing that.”
Bumgarner has a laid-back attitude about blocking out the tension of a
“If you’re worried about how loud the crowd is going to be you’re, then you’re in the wrong place mentally and probably in the wrong business,” Bumgarner said.
Pence says the mental work to handle such pressure so well begins way before the six-month season begins.
“He works hard and he prepares,” Pence said. “It starts in your off-season, the weight room. It starts in your mindset. He’s got that hard-nosed pitcher mentality and he doesn’t let any of the magnificence that’s going on around him [intrude].