Bumgarner bends not breaks as Giants lose

Two years ago to the day, Tim Lincecum pitched his second career no-hitter against the San Diego Padres. For but a brief moment Saturday night, it looked like Madison Bumgarner could be on the way to his first.

Bumgarner (L, 8-4, 1.99 ERA) was mowing through the Phillies, a likely victim, through four despite a walk to leadoff the game and a Joe Panik error.

Maikel Franco pounded a two-strike, leadoff single in the fifth to end Bumgarner’s run and send him into a slide. Bumgarner gave up four more hits and three runs in the Phillies’ 3-2 win over the Giants. Those three runs are the most Bumgarner’s given up since the Dodgers notched four on him back in April.

The Phillies (32-44) looked baffled by Bumgarner’s stuff early on; they struck out looking four times in a row — Bumgarner whiffed seven overall — and couldn’t make solid contact.

That is, until Franco’s crack of the bat. It didn’t amount to much — he advanced to third on a wild pitch and the Giants’ defense held him there on an an attempted sac fly — but it got these scrappy Phillies rolling.

Peter Bourjos recorded their second hit of the game the next inning. Bumgarner pounded his glove and yelled to himself:

“I was frustrated at the time, but when the other guy steps into the box you got to put all your attention on that.”

Tommy Joseph led of the seventh with a double and Andres Blanco singled to put the Phillies on the board 2-1. Cameron Rupp‘s swing made the difference: he sent a 3-2 pitch 433 feet out of the park to give the Phillies the lead.

Rupp ended Bumgarner’s night at 6-1/3 innings, an outing that, by anyone’s standard, was solid, said Bruce Bochy:

“He threw well. We kept it close and they got the big hit there, but if you look at his game that’s a pretty good effort he gave us.”

Said Bumgarner:

“I was throwing pretty good until the seventh inning. That obviously didn’t go as planned. But that’s just the way it goes.”

Bumgarner is in rare form, dominant in his last two starts despite taking losses in both. The common denominator? The offense’s inability to strike gold.

The Giants (48-28) tallied two early, dinky runs on a fielding error and sac fly to take the initial lead, but didn’t have an answer for the late deficit.

They made one legitimate threat in the eighth. Joe Panik started off the inning with a bloop single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Buster Posey drew a one-out walk and Brandon Crawford sent a promising line drive to left.

Panik made his read and went for it:

“You’re the tying run at second and if that ball drops you need to score.”

Instead, Tyler Goeddel scooped it out for out No. 2 and flicked it to second to force Panik out.

Panik thrashed his helmet in the dirt once third base coach Roberto Kelly told him what had happened:

“When every ball is hit, your main objective is to advance … especially with the way the game was going, low scoring affair, not many hits tonight, you need to be aggressive. Unfortunately it was the wrong choice, but I wouldn’t change what I did.”

The Giants left six runners on base and went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position, said Bochy:

“We had some chances and the thing about the game is it’s baseball, we hit the ball hard. Crawford, he lined out three times with men on base.”

Some perspective: this marks only the third loss the Giants have lost over the past 15 games at AT&T Park.

The Giants will get their shot at a series win Sunday afternoon before facing the A’s in a four-game series at AT&T Park and O.Co.


Shayna Rubin is SFBay’s San Francisco Giants beat writer. Follow @SFBay and @ShaynaRubin on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of Giants baseball.