Madison Bumgarner Shuts Out Mets on Two Hits

Howard Goldin

For the third consecutive game at Citi Field, the San Francisco Giants starter pitched outstandingly. Madison Bumgarner’s superlative performance on Sunday afternoon led the Giants to a 9-0 victory. Despite trailing the Dodgers by 2.5 games in the National League West, the Giants and Pirates currently hold the two Wild Card spots in the National League with the Cardinals and Braves close behind.

Bumgarner, who reached the age of 25 one day before his start on Sunday,  gave himself a belated birthday gift by earning his 13th win of 2014, which tied him for the major league lead. The complete game was the fourth in his career and the shutout his second.

Although Bumgarner did not hold the Mets hitless during the first five frames as Ryan Vogelsong and Jake Peavy did during the past two weekend contests, he only yielded one hit before the sixth inning, a lead-off double in the third by Wilmer Flores.

After walking the lead-off batter, Curtis Granderson, the lefty retired 18 of the next 19 batters. Bumgarner explained the reason, “[My] command got better as the game went on.” The second and final base hit for the Mets was produced by David Wright who singled to right in the seventh.

The Frisco starter needed only 94 pitches to easily subdue the Mets. He fanned 10 batters, his season-high, for the fourth time. He credited his success on Sunday to the following, “Fastball command is what set the game up.”

Manager Bruce Bochy was fulsome in his praise of his starting pitcher, “Wow! It’s hard to pitch a better game. [He had a] nice easy delivery, pounded the strike zone. The way he pitched today was fun to watch.”

While it wasn’t fun for Mets skipper Terry Collins, he said of the Giants starter, “He’s tough, really tough.”

Bumgarner is far more effective on the road than at home. He has a mark of 9-2 with an ERA of 1.58 in his 13 starts on the road this year. He has also yet to face a serious challenge from the Mets. In four career starts against New York he has compiled a 3-0 record and a meager ERA of 1.24.

In addition to his extremely impressive pitching, Bumgarner is not afraid to swing the bat. He raised his batting average to .265 with a sacrifice bunt in the third, a single in the fifth and a base on balls in the seventh. He scored after the latter two at bats. Bochy remarked, “He helped himself with a walk and a hit, and scored twice.”

Hunter Pence, the hitting star of the game with home runs #14 and 15 and four runs driven in, recognized Bumgarner’s batting skill, “It’ pretty impressive. Every time he pitches, he has good at bats and that’s only every five days.”

Pence’s respect for Bumgarner goes far beyond his work on the mound, “A lot of people are impressed by him on a daily basis, who he is, how he handles himself, not just how great he pitches. He’s a very special individual.”

While his teammate Vogelsong receives very little batting support during his starts, Bumgarner is the third highest in run support in the N.L. with an average of 5.71 runs scored.

The Giants excelled in hitting as well as pitching on Sunday. The batters exhibited a far above average of support for Bumgarner’s excellent efforts. Their 11 hits produced nine runs thanks to their use of the home run. The Giants blasted four balls into the seats after having hit only two during the past 10 games.

In addition to the two long balls by Pence, Buster Posey, who had four hits and three runs batted in, smashed his 13th homerof the season and Brandon Belt smacked his 11th.