SAN FRANCISCO — For four innings it looked like Madison Bumgarner might do something special. For eight innings it looked like the Giants would be celebrating their home-grown infield after Sunday’s game.
But everything fell apart in the ninth inning at AT&T Park, when an error by Brandon Crawford opened the floodgates for a Braves rally. The Giants lost 7-5 and ended up with a split of the four-game series.
Santiago Casilla was handed a two-run lead but gave up a one-out homer to Freddie Freeman. After a walk of Andrelton Simmons, he got Christian Bethancourt to hit a grounder up the middle that looked like a sure double play. Crawford booted the ball and the Braves had two runners on.
A.J. Pierzynksi loaded the bases with a flare to right and Jace Peterson unloaded them with a scorched triple to right-center, quieting a park that had been rocking most of of the day.
Armed with his firm fastball, go-to cutter and a sharp curveball, Bumgarner cruised through the first three innings on just 30 pitches. In the fourth, he had the look of a man who might be poised for something special.
Jace Peterson looked silly while striking out on two cutters and two curveballs and Cameron Maybin went down looking when Bumgarner painted the inside corner with a 93 mph fastball. Nick Markakis flew out weakly to center on Bumgarner’s 42nd pitch.
The bid for perfection ended quickly in the fifth as Bumgarner started to have longer innings. Jonny Gomes had six hits in eight at-bats against Bumgarner entering the day and he bounced an elevated 3-2 fastball past a diving Matt Duffy. After a groundout, a passed ball and a flare to center by Chris Johnson, the Braves were on the scoreboard.
The Giants led 2-1 at the time thanks to back-to-back homers by Crawford and Brandon Belt.
Bumgarner had a clean sixth but walked Gomes with one out in the seventh. Juan Uribe put the Braves on top a few seconds later when he blasted a low breaking ball into the left-field seats. The Giants rallied right back, tying the game in the bottom of the inning on Gregor Blanco’s pinch-hit single and then jumping ahead when Joe Panik hit his fourth homer of the year.
Starting pitching report: Bumgarner has allowed a homer in four of his last five starts and is on pace to give up 25 this season. His career-high is 23 homers allowed, and he gave up 21 a year ago.
Bullpen report: George Kontos figures to be a very popular man in the clubhouse right now. He stranded two of Tim Lincecum’s runners in the fifth inning Saturday night and stranded two Bumgarner runners in the seventh inning Sunday.
At the plate: The Brandons went back-to-back to the arcade in the second inning, giving each a seventh homer this season. They’re one behind Buster Posey for the team lead. Panik took the lead in the tight Panik-Duffy Home Run Race.
In the field: Crawford’s error was his fifth of the season.
Attendance: The Giants announced a crowd of 41,553 human beings. Steph Curry did not attend.
Up next: A really good series, and a rematch of the 2015 NL Wild Card Game. The Pirates are bringing their big guns to AT&T Park, with Gerrit Cole, A.J. Burnett and Francisco Liriano starting the three-game series. The Giants counter with Ryan Vogelsong, Chris Heston and Tim Hudson.