The Giants completed the improbable yesterday, sweeping the first place, best in the west, Dodgers in shutout fashion, 4-0, as Madison Bumgarner once again out-dueled rival ace Clayton Kershaw. With the victory, the G-men achieved several impressive accomplishments, and put an exclamation point on this young season:
- The Giants have now won six straight and 19 of 27 (.704)
- With three consecutive shutouts, the Giants have held the Dodgers scoreless over the last 31 innings played, dating back to April 29th
- They completed back to back series sweeps over Los Angeles at AT&T Park and back-to-back-to-back series sweeps at AT&T against teams residing in Los Angeles
- The Giants are now 3-0 this season when MadBum faces Clayton Kershaw
- They have beaten the Dodgers 7 out of 9 times this year
- With the win, the G-men move to within 1 ½ games of the Dodgers for first place in the NL West
Madison Bumgarner played a familiar role in this one, as he carried the Giants on his back in yet another big game, with the baseball world watching. In the fourth inning, the Giants scored first for the ninth consecutive game as MadBum blasted a towering home run deep into the stands in left field (estimated at 415 feet), becoming the first pitcher to homer against Kershaw in his career. It was also Bumgarner’s first home run of the season, after hitting two grand slams last year and winning the Silver Slugger award for his position. “He’s the best pitcher in baseball, for sure,” MadBum said. “To be able to do that and run into one is pretty special.”
On the mound, MadBum simply did his thing – pitching out of trouble repeatedly, getting stops every time he needed to. He threw 107 pitches over 6 ⅓ innings, allowing seven hits and two walks, while striking out six. The solid Giants’ defense backed him up, turning two double plays, with the only error coming on a bad throw by shortstop Joaquin Arias. With the win, Bumgarner improved his record to 5-2, 2.84 and is now 9-3 with a 1.81 ERA in his past 13 starts against the Dodgers.
Despite being shut out in the two previous games in the series, the Dodgers had to feel pretty good going into the finale with Kershaw on the mound, coming off of his 100th career victory. After all, his career record at AT&T Park was 8-2 with a ridiculous 0.97 ERA. However, once again MadBum proved he’s better in big games and is now 4-1 in head-to-head match ups against Kershaw. With the loss, Kershaw dropped to 2-3, 4.32 on the season.
Offensively, the G-men were locked in, going 3 for 5 with runners in scoring position, a statistic they continue to improve upon. In fact, they’ve compiled a .365 batting average with RISP during the past nine games. Nori Aoki was back in the lead off spot and went 2 for 3 with a walk, Angel Pagan returned to the three hole going 2 for 4 with a double and two runs scored, Hunter Pence went 2 for 4 knocking in two runs, and Brandon Crawford (who replaced Arias at shortstop in the eighth inning) went 1 for 1, with his team leading 27th RBI.
Next up for the Giants is Colorado, where they’ll play a four-game series against the last place Rockies. They’ll play a double header on Saturday, making up the rained out game from April 26th. Ryan Vogelsong (2-2, 5.31) will take the ball for the G-men tonight, facing Kyle Kendrick (1-5, 6.70). Vogey has pitched very well in his last three starts, going 2-0, allowing just three runs over 19 ⅔ innings. However, at Coors Field, Vogelsong hasn’t fared so well, going 0-3, 13.50 in his last three starts. Kendrick is 2-2 with a 4.68 career line against the Giants.
The G-men will look to avoid a let down after the emotional series sweep over Los Angeles, and hope to take three out of four in Colorado before moving on to Milwaukee for a three-game set that will complete the road trip. Could this be the team that makes history and wins its fourth championship in six seasons? They’re certainly playing like the champions they are, and look like they have what it takes.”I think we’ve become who we are,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
- The Giants’ offense is now third in MLB in batting average at .269, and 23rd in runs scored
- The team’s pitching ranks seventh in ERA at 3.34