Madison Bumgarner added his name to those ranks Saturday afternoon when he took Chris Bassitt deep to left for his third homer of the season, ninth of his career, and the Giants’ first run of Saturday afternoon.
An easy stroke of genius, especially for someone who rarely takes batting practice, that had everyday guys like Matt Duffy reeling from envy:
“We were talking about it on the bench. He barely takes batting practice and it’s just like, go away, we don’t want you here. I’m just kidding. But he makes it look so easy … That’s something hard to do as an everyday guy and he’s hitting every fifth day. I think Buster was like ‘man I haven’t gotten a homer in 12 days!’”
Bumgarner is batting .256, an ML best among starters with more than 15 appearances, and has four RBI. Said Bochy:
“He’s dangerous. He won the silver bat last season for a reason and he’s a threat up there and what’s impressive is that he’s made himself a pretty good hitter too. Just goes to show you how a pitcher can’t help themselves.”
Don’t be surprised to see Bumgarner clutching another Silver Slugger award next April.
His homer was but a single jab in what turned into a tense pitching duel. The hit-happy Giants — who have outscored visiting opponents 36-12 in their last four home games — could muster just five hits and one more run against Bassitt in their 2-1 win over the Athletics. The Giants have taken 10 of their last 11 games, said Bochy of the win:
“We’ve been firing on all cylinders. Today was a well-played game. They pitched well. Bum threw a great game. Good clean ballgame. Good plays on both sides.”
The game marked Bassitt’s sixth start in which the A’s lost by a one-run margin. He’s 0-3, but his 2.47 ERA tells the real Bassitt story, said Bochy of the Giants’ efforts against the hurler:
“He had a good run on his fastball, good four-pitch guy. I think it’s always a little more difficult when you haven’t seen somebody, but that’s not to take away from what he did.”
He’s hard to hit. A heavy curveball that struck out Hunter Pence in the second inning made that clear. Bassitt, who faced the Giants for the first time in his short career, had some nasty breaking stuff.
Bassitt departed after the sixth as he was nearing 100 pitches, but held the hot Giants’ bats hostage long enough to turn them cold for the day.
But the Giants had Bumgarner on the mound, who bounced back from three shaky starts with a seven-inning, one-run game. His command wasn’t perfect, but he struck out seven and gave up just five hits. He struggled in the early innings, racking up a total 36 pitches through two. But he found his stride just in time, said Bochy:
“He had a couple long innings there, but here he gives us a solid outing and seven innings…He had an extra day so I felt comfortable knowing he could get us through seven.”
The Giants took the lead in the sixth after Joe Panik — who redeemed his hitless Friday night with a two-hit day — doubled a two-out zinger into the right center alley. Matt Duffy slapped an opposite-field single to score Panik.
That rally gave the Giants their 190th two-out run, the most in the Majors.
The Giants will go for their second consecutive home series sweep tomorrow. Former Athletic Tim Hudson, who has a win against 29 of 30 MLB teams, will face the only one left on his bucket list.
Tim Lincecum was on the field before today’s game playing catch for the first time since his receiving cortisone shots.