SAN FRANCISCO — Perfection continues to elude Madison Bumgarner.
After so many close calls, Bumgarner looked poised to add another historic achievement to a resume that may put him in the Hall of Fame years from now. He retired the first 23 Padres he faced on Saturday night before pinch-hitter Melvin Upton Jr. poked a single up the middle with two outs in the eighth.
Bumgarner settled for his third career one-hitter as the Giants beat the Padres 8-0 at AT&T Park. He became the second player in the majors to reach 18 wins and the first in the National League to pitch a fourth complete game.
Tim Lincecum no-hit the Padres each of the past two seasons, and Bumgarner showed the right stuff early. He struck out three the first time through the order, getting the first nine outs on 40 pitches. The Padres went down quickly in the fourth, but Bumgarner gave up some hard contact a frame later.
Justin Upton opened the fifth by hitting a deep fly to right-center, but on a cool night by the cove the ball had no chance of getting down in a gap. Angel Pagan tracked it down just in front of the warning track. Jedd Gyorko drove the next pitch to deep left, but Alejandro De Aza made an easy catch on the edge of the track.
By that point, the Giants had a four-run lead thanks in large part to Justin Upton. With two on and two down in the fourth, Marlon Byrd hit a hard liner to left that clanked off Justin Upton’s glove as he approached the wall. Two runs scored, and the Giants tacked on additional runs on a triple by Kelby Tomlinson and single by Ehire Adrianza.
The Giants sent eight more batters to the plate in the fifth and scored three more runs, meaning Bumgarner had to sit for 25 minutes between pitches. It didn’t matter. He struck out Austin Hedges on three pitches to open the sixth. Clint Barmes became the fourth Padre to get to a three-ball count, but Bumgarner froze him with a 92 mph fastball on the outside corner. Cory Spangenberg flied out to left, giving Bumgarner 18 consecutive outs.
Wil Myers swung through a fastball to give Bumgarner his 19th out. The scare came a batter later when Derek Norris lined a shot up the middle, but infield coach Ron Wotus had Tomlinson positioned perfectly and he made a jumping grab. When Kemp grounded out softly to short, Bumgarner was through seven perfect innings for the second time in his career.
The left-hander took a perfect game into the eighth last August 26 but Justin Morneau broke it up with a double into the right-field corner. This time, Bumgarner would get to 23 consecutive outs. The best battle of the night came at the beginning of the seventh, when Justin Upton took a close 2-2 pitch and then fouled off a wicked 3-2 slider. He hit a grounder deep to short but Ehire Adrianza made a difficult play look easy. When Gyorko flied out to right, Padres manager Pat Murphy called for Upton Jr. as a pinch-hitter.
Once a budding superstar, Upton Jr. has been one of the worst hitters in baseball over the past three seasons and is only a Padre because the Braves wanted to dump salary in a bigger deal. Still, he broke up Chris Heston’s no-hit bid in the sixth earlier this season and he got to Bumgarner on Saturday.