SAN FRANCISCO -- Round III lived up to the hype, and once again Madison Bumgarner was the lefty who got to walk through a handshake line.
Bumgarner and the Giants beat Clayton Kershaw for the third time this season, winning 4-0 at AT&T Park to extend their winning streak to a season-high six games. The Giants ace pitched 6 1/3 strong innings and scored the game’s first run with a solo homer as the Giants shut out the Dodgers for the third straight game, a feat they last accomplished in 2012.
Bumgarner’s pitch count got up there early, but he kept the shutout streak going by buckling down after Joc Pederson’s leadoff flare to center in the third turned into a double. Two straight Dodgers grounders failed to bring Pederson in, and Adrian Gonzalez’s deep fly to left field died on the warning track.
Bumgarner gave a sold-out ballpark a jolt later in the inning, jumping on a first-pitch fastball from Kershaw and crushing it deep into the left-field seats. The homer was Bumgarner’s first of the year and his first since he took Zack Greinke deep last September in Los Angeles.
The Giants went up 2-0 in the fourth when Angel Pagan hit a leadoff double and raced home on Hunter Pence’s single to right. Pagan’s perfect slide gave Pence an RBI on his first hit at AT&T Park since Game 5 of the World Series.
A pair of two-out hits got the Dodgers going again in the fifth, but after a long battle, Bumgarner got Justin Turner swinging on a wicked cutter on the outside corner. He would take the Giants into the seventh, and the bullpen sailed home from there.
Starting pitching report: Bumgarner is the sport’s best big-game pitcher right now, and they don’t get much bigger in May than a Bumgarner-Kershaw matchup. It’s no surprise, then, that Bumgarner has excelled in this season’s three showdowns. Through three starts against Kershaw, Bumgarner has thrown 20 2/3 innings, allowed three total runs and struck out 21.
Bullpen report: Javier Lopez entered for Adrian Gonzalez in the seventh and got a grounder to short. Lefties are now 2 for 22 against Lopez this season, with just one RBI.
At the plate: In his second at-bat, Bumgarner got the good stuff from Kershaw. A slider for a strike, a curveball for a strike and then a 92 mph heater down and away for a called third strike. Kershaw learned his lesson after that first at-bat, when he tried to lay a 91 mph fastball in there and watched in pain as Bumgarner crushed it. Per MLB.com, the homer had an exit speed of 105 mph and traveled 415 feet.
In the field: Nori Aoki has never been known for his arm and Joaquin Arias has been missing zip on throws since the spring, but sometimes execution trumps all. With Alex Guerrero on first and one out in the sixth, A.J. Ellis hit a single to left that Aoki quickly scooped up and got in to Arias, who turned and fired for third to nail Guerrero, who had made a poor decision in the first place. The ensuing strikeout of Kershaw ended the inning.
Attendance: The Giants announced their 350th consecutive sellout. Everyone seemed to get along.
Up next: Four at Coors Field over three days, so rest up, bullpen. The Giants will throw Ryan Vogelsong, Chris Heston and Tim Hudson at the Rockies, who counter with Kyle Kendrick, Jordan Lyles and Chad Bettis. The makeup game on Saturday is currently listed as an exciting matchup between TBA and TBA.