For a second on Tuesday night, the elusive Madison Bumgarner no-hitter felt real.
Three of the ace’s teammates have done it, one twice and once perfect, and after four innings of perfect baseball against the no-hit wonder Padres, it seemed he could finally join the fun.
Bumgarner was dominant. He took the mound in the fifth with 10 strikeouts already under his belt and complete control over every one of his pitches. The fans were on board, hanging on every two-strike count. The ace, after all, had gone eight innings in each of his past three starts.
When will the baseball gods grant MadBum his day of glory? It doesn’t really matter. However deserving he may be, we all know Madison Bumgarner is just in this for the W’s.
A Giants win seemed destined thru eight, but the game took a big, looping turn. It devolved from a potential perfecto to a gritty tie game, into a slow extra-inning loss, with San Diego sneaking past the Giants 3-2 in the 11th inning.
Photos by Scot Tucker/SFBay
Bruce Bochy expressed, again, his dismay over the lack of timely hitting, especially riding on Bumgarner’s performance:
“Bum threw so well, but we just couldn’t add on … He pitched his heart out.”
The unsettled game spawned mostly from another dominant performance from Omar Despaigne, a pitcher who has historically shut the Giants down.
And, really,Despaigne owns the Giants, who could only hit .101 in four games off him before tonight. Despaigne held a 0.35 ERA over the Giants, 4.65 against everyone else.
Tonight, the Giants broke through. A little. Gregor Blanco answered the broken-up perfecto in the fifth with an awkward dribbler hit that scored Matt Duffy, who had doubled and advanced to third on a Bumgarner out, to put the Giants up 1-0.
But then, Joe Panik opened it up, slamming a double near triples alley to score Blanco easily from first and give the Giants the 2-0 lead. The Giants mustered five hits against Despaigne, and only struck out twice.
That gave Bumgarner some room to breathe. Un-perturbed by the lost perfect game, he owned the next few innings. He kept San Diego off the bases for two more innings and managed to break a personal record, a disputed strikeout to Clint Barmes — that got new manager Pat Murphy and Matt Kemp ejected — marked a career-best 14th strikeout of the game.
Bumgarner kept cool about the milestone:
“I don’t care if I strike out a lot of guys or not.”
That strikeout would also be his last out of the game. He gave up the two tying runs on a Will Venable double down the third base line. The high fastball, Bum said, was no mistake:
“Most lefties will swing and miss that, but he got on top of it.”
High on MadBum’s sharp game, the crowd expected a go-ahead run. But the game snuck past the ninth and well into extras without any Giants offense; the Padres’ bullpen held them to just two unproductive hits after Despaigne’s departure.
The Giants’ bullpen kept up; Javier Lopez. Sergio Romo and Santiago Casilla held the fired up Padres hitless. Lopez iced his inherited runners in the eighth with a force out and Romo notched a strikeout and inning-ending double play before limping off the mound. Bochy said he hyper-extended his knee. Casilla looked particularly stellar, striking out two in the 10th.
The Padres leapt on Hunter Strickland, who allowed three hits, including the game-winning Alexi Amarista RBI that caught second-baseman Panik lurching the wrong way. Derek Norris, who had doubled and reached third on a Justin Upton single, scored and gave Strickland his first loss on the season.
Bochy talks rotation
Nothing is set in stone, of course, but Bruce Bochy said before today’s game that Jake Peavy and Matt Cain are slated for a July 2 and 3 return. Tim Hudson and Tim Lincecum are slotted for those days. Bochy didn’t articulate any plans for the departing starters, but guess is that Lincecum could be taking a trip to the bullpen. Hudson, perhaps, will get a stint on the DL to refresh.
Aoki fractures fibula
Nor Aoki was penciled in the top of the lineup prior to Tuesday’s game, but was scratched after BP after he felt discomfort warming up. Docs took a look and found a fracture. Aoki sat by his locker after the game with a black cast, which he and Bochy said should be on for at least two weeks. There’s no timetable for his return, but they’re in no rush and want it to heal properly.
Aoki said of the pain:
“It was the type of pain that I knew I wouldn’t play … I was obviously surprised. I came here ready to play.”
This injury is a serious thrash to the outfield depth; Hunter Pence is still out for a while and now, Aoki is shelved. For now it looks like Blanco will play left, Angel Pagan center and Justin Maxwell right.
Giancarlo Stanton has taken over Aoki’s top spot in the All-Star Game voting, which, all things considered, is weird, but kind of good timing.