NEW YORK – Almost everyone wearing a World Series ring in black and orange has struggled to perform consistently in this disappointing follow-up season.
Madison Bumgarner is disappointed in himself, too. But only because he cares so deeply about his hitting.
When it comes to his work on the bump, Bumgarner is the one guy who just kept logrolling along. He put forth another strong start Thursday afternoon, holding the New York Mets to one run in seven innings while striking out 10 in a 2-1 victory at Citi Field.
A day after blowing a three-run lead in the ninth, the Giants held on to a slimmer margin this time – but only because Javier Lopez got two clutch outs to strand Santiago Casilla’s runner at second base.
Bumgarner blew past his previous high of 192 strikeouts and finished the day at 199 – one away from just the third 200-strikeout season by a left-hander in the Giants’ San Francisco era. Ray Sadecki (in 1968) and Jonathan Sanchez (in 2010) were the others.
And you can add Cy Seymour from 1898 and Rube Marquard from 1911 when you go back to the New York days. (That’s right: Hall of Famer Carl Hubbell never had a 200-strikeout season.)
Bumgarner also extended his streak to 19 starts allowing three earned runs or fewer – matching the longest by a Giants pitcher in a single season since Ed Whitson in 1980.
Bumgarner’s 2.77 ERA would be the lowest of his career, and it ranks fifth among NL starters.
His opponent’s average now stands at .203 after the Mets managed just four hits against him. That’s the third lowest in the NL (behind the Marlins’ Jose Fernandez and the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw), and is lower than what Tim Lincecum posted in either of his Cy Young Award seasons.
Bumgarner’s OBA since 2010: .272, .260, .234 and .203.
Starting pitching report
Bumgarner (13-9) took a no-hitter into the fourth before Josh Satin doubled and scored on Daniel Murphy’s single. But the left-hander quickly reset himself, he worked quickly, and his defense was attentive to his needs.
The left-hander was able to record 10 outs all by himself. He struck out the side in the fifth inning and recorded his 13th career double-digit strikeout game.
He wasn’t as sharp after the fifth, though. Andrew Brown hit a two-out double in the sixth to put two runners in scoring position, and it took a lucky bounce – a Wilmer Flores comebacker off Bumgarner’s shin – to escape the inning. The ball caromed right to first baseman Buster Posey as he stood within stomping distance of the bag.
Bumgarner had trouble in the seventh, too, as Omar Quintanilla hit a two-out single and pinch hitter Zach Lutz drew a walk. But after a visit from pitching coach Dave Righetti, Bumgarner got Eric Young Jr. to ground out to shortstop and end a successful afternoon.
A day after the Giants tanked a three-run lead in the ninth inning, Giants manager Bruce Bochy didn’t adjust by going to kids like Jake Dunning or Heath Hembree.
He stayed with his veterans, first using Jean Machi in the eighth and giving Casilla another shot in the ninth.
Casilla started Wednesday night’s trouble by issuing two walks. And he began Thursday’s outing with another free pass, to pinch hitter Matt den Dekker. After a sacrifice advanced the tying run into scoring position, Bochy turned to Lopez. The left-hander got pinch hitter Lucas Duda to fly out to center and needed to conquer a right-handed matchup against Anthony Recker. He did, striking out Recker to end it.
Lopez recorded his first save of the season. He and Casilla each have one. Romo has the other 35.
At the plate
Hector Sanchez, Joaquin Arias, Juan Perez and Ehire Adrianza?
Other than four people who have never been in your kitchen, they were the four hitters who conspired on the Giants’ two-run rally in the fourth inning. Sanchez hit a one-out double, showing all the speed of the 7 local train.
Arias singled to advance Sanchez from 74th/Broadway to 82nd/Jackson Heights. And then Perez lashed a single as Sanchez rumbled safely into 90th St./Elmhurst Ave. Adrianza followed by beating out an attempted double-play throw as Arias stepped on the plate.
The Giants hit their share of other loud outs against left-hander Jonathon Niese, including Tony Abreu’s double in the fifth and Buster Posey’s fly ball that right fielder Andrew Brown caught with his back against the wall. But both pitchers mostly worked quick innings.
Perez, who grew up in the Bronx, finished with a career-high three hits.
Arias showed why Bochy turns to him for late-inning defense at third base. He made a pair of acrobatic plays to help Bumgarner strand a runner in the fourth inning.
Arias made another tough grounder look easy to help Jean Machi get off to a clean start in the eighth.
The Mets announced 22,897 paid, and you’d think the Giants never left New York judging by the crowd's standing ovation as the visitors walked off the field. It was a peaceable assembly, however, and there’s little wonder that Mets and Giants fans understand each other. They both experienced the horror of a Benitez regime.
The Giants stay checked into their Manhattan hotel rooms as their road trip shifts from Queens to the Bronx. Tim Lincecum (10-13, 4.40 ERA) takes the mound against left-hander CC Sabathia (13-13, 4.90) in Friday night’s opener of a three-game series at Yankee Stadium – the Giants’ first interleague visit since they played at the old park in 2002. First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 p.m. PDT. It’ll be Ryan Vogelsong (3-5, 3.73) against right-hander Ivan Nova (8-5, 3.36) on Saturday and Yusmeiro Petit (4-0, 3.08) against left-hander Andy Pettitte (10-10, 3.93) on Sunday.