SAN FRANCISCO -- We write thousands of words about games like this one. Bruce Bochy needed just a few seconds to sum up his ace's day, though.
"Bum was Bum today," Bochy said.
Well, yeah. That pretty much nails it, but Bochy could make one change to that line. Bum has been Bum all month, not just today.
The left-hander just wrapped up a stretch that is sure to put another Player of the Month award in his locker. Bumgarner went 5-0 in five August starts, allowing six total runs and pitching at least six innings each time (he had two complete games). He walked four batters in August and struck out 53. Yes, Madison Bumgarner averaged more than 10 strikeouts per start in August. That's what happens when you hit 12, 14 and 12 again in a span of four starts. Just for good measure, Bumgarner also slugged two homers in August and batted .277.
Bum was Bum in August. Bum was Bum on Thursday, and his teammates sure enjoyed it.
"I kinda laugh as he's going through these games," third baseman Matt Duffy said. "It doesn't surprise me."
There was one surprise on Thursday, though. Bumgarner is quick on his feet and has turned himself into a fantastic defensive player, but even he was surprised when he made this play. After the game, Bumgarner was asked if he knew where the bag was.
"Yeah," he said, pausing. "We'll go with that."
Bumgarner said he tried "to put my foot where I thought it was," and it worked out. He told Duffy, "I didn't think I had that in me." It was one of his few non-strikeout outs early on, and by the time he settled in with some quicker innings, this one was turning into a laugher. That allowed Bochy to pull him early and save a few bullets.
"We had a chance to give him a break," Bochy said. "We've been riding him pretty hard this month."
[RELATED: Video recap: Giants 9, Cubs 1]
--- My game story focuses on Kelby Tomlinson, the latest breakout star in the infield. An important point at the bottom of that story: The Giants don't have to rush Joe Panik back with the way Tomlinson is playing. We've seen a few guys rush back the last couple of years and then get hurt again, but Panik expects to be pretty close to 100 percent when he returns. As Bochy said, that'll just make this team that much stronger, and looking forward, the front office has to be pretty excited. They thought Duffy could be a Super Utility guy this season, and now Tomlinson looks like a perfect fit in that role in 2016. Posey, Belt, Panik, Crawford and Duffy, with Susac and Tomlinson backing them up? That's a very good -- and very young -- infield.
Tomlinson, by the way, got that home run ball back. He traded a bat, ball and batting gloves for the souvenir.
--- The Nori Aoki beat writers have a tough job. They write about Aoki every day, whether he goes 3 for 4 or 0 for 4 or doesn't play at all. Aoki talks to them every day, often twice a day, and it's really been pretty fascinating to watch how respectful both sides are in that relationship. Anyway, those guys are always looking for juicy stories, and they twice missed out today. Aoki came inches away from the 69th Splash Hit at AT&T Park and then inches away from an inside-the-park homer. In the press box, one of Aoki's beat writers screamed when he was thrown out, and then he started laughing. So close to a hell of a day.
Bochy said Aoki saw where the ball ended up and thought he could get home safely.
"It's a great play on their part," he said. "It took that kind of play to get him."
--- Duffy said his ankle was a little sore early, but he was fine once he started moving around. He looked like normal Duffy out there, especially at third base.
--- Kris Bryant is Duffy's competition in the Rookie of the Year race, but give him a tip of the cap anyway. He's obviously going to be a monster at the plate, but he also showed some speed on the bases and played third, right and center field in this series. The kid is going to be a superstar.
--- The Giants have seven grand slams this season, matching their SF-era franchise record. Not to be forgotten: Marlon Byrd hit a three-run homer that helped put this one away. He's looking like another August steal for the front office.
--- Tomlinson after intentional walks this season: 2 for 2, HR, 2B, 6 RBI. They'll never learn.
He said he can't remember his last grand slam.
"I don't hit too many home runs," he pointed out.