Madison Bumgarner was brilliant on Thursday.
The 2014 World Series MVP tossed 7.2 shutout innings in the Giants' 6-0 win over the Braves.
"That's the best I've felt all year," Bumgarner told reporters. "Today was the first time in a year and a half I felt like I had it pretty much where I wanted it."
Strong words from a guy who entering Thursday's start was 6-2 with a 2.12 ERA.
His ERA is now 1.91.
Bumgarner got the Giants on the board with a two-run blast in the fifth inning.
Joe Panik and Buster Posey also hit two-run shots in the frame.
Bumgarner now has 13 career home runs, the most by any active pitcher.
“I mean, that’s pretty cool, but I’m not getting paid to hit,” Bumgarner told Andrew Baggarly of the Bay Area News Group. “I wouldn’t trade the pitching for the hitting.”
The Giants managed to salvage a series split against the Braves, and will conclude their 10-game road trip with three games in St. Louis starting on Friday.
San Francisco is now 34-22 and leads the Dodgers (28-27) by 5.5 games in the NL West.
“Talent wise, this may be the best team I’ve been on,” Bumgarner said. “The thing is, even most of our younger guys have been through the fire already.”
Since the start of 2012, Bumgarner has 39 RBI, the most by far among pitchers. Adam Wainwright is second with 24.