Instant Replay: Giants earn series split with walk-off win
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SAN FRANCISCO – It was “Star Wars” day on the shores of McCovey Cove, and Madison Bumgarner fit the theme.

His fastball was on hyperdrive. And his slider was nastier than the smell of a tauntaun’s entrails.

But the Giants are giving Bumgarner the paduan treatment after he threw so many innings two of the last three Octobers. So he was pulled after shutting out the Diamondbacks through six – and his victory blew up faster than the Death Star when Arizona scored a pair of runs against Santiago Casilla to tie the game in the eighth.

The two teams brought 21 relievers to the ballpark – a veritable clone army. In other words, this one was had the potential to spin for a bit.

But the Giants ended this space opera with a walk-off in the 11th inning. Hector Sanchez’s third hit of the game was a single to start the inning, pinch runner Ehire Adrianza advanced on Gregor Blanco’s bunt and Angel Pagan sent him the rest of the way home on a single as the Giants won 3-2 Sunday afternoon.

If only every kid got to experience scoring the winning run in his major league debut.

Run support has been as dry as Tattooine at midday for Bumgarner, which mostly explains why he’s winless in his last seven starts and has just one victory in 10 starts since the All-Star break despite a 2.42 ERA over that span.

At least he got to participate in a handshake like this time -- with a Wookiee roar, if he felt like it.

Starting pitching report

It’s easy to forget that Bumgarner wore down in the second half last season, was momentarily pulled from the playoff rotation, and needed a full-stop breath before he rebounded to win Game 2 of the World Series.

His stuff has shown no second-half slide this year. Just to be careful, though, the Giants pulled him after just 89 pitches.

Bumgarner is fully aware that he hasn’t thrown a complete game this season, and at this stage, there’s almost no chance the Giants will let him throw one.

But the stuff continues to be electric. Bumgarner hit 93 mph with his fastball and had both command and movement of his breaking ball while striking out five consecutive Diamondbacks in the second and third innings.

The streak was interrupted when Adam Eaton hit a ground ball and Buster Posey, the first baseman, couldn’t handle the throw. Charitably, Eaton was credited with a single.

Bumgarner got right back to work and his very next pitch induced a double-play grounder from pitcher Wade Miley. He allowed four hits, struck out nine, didn’t walk a batter and didn’t allow a runner into scoring position after the first inning.

Bumgarner hasn’t won in seven starts since Aug. 2. That’s the Giants’ failure, not his own.

Bullpen report

Jean Machi provided a quick seventh inning but Casilla got sucked into the sarlacc pit in the eighth when Chris Owings singled and Adam Eaton followed with another hit down the left field line. Francisco Peguero threw to third base even though he had no chance to get Owings, and that mistake allowed Eaton to take second.

Eric Chavez, who spoiled Yusmeiro Petit’s perfect game two nights earlier, hit a sacrifice fly to make it 2-1. Eaton took third but it appeared Casilla might escape after shortstop Brandon Crawford, with the infield in, made a terrific reaction play to stop Willie Bloomquist’s hard ground ball.

But A.J.Pollock coaxed a two-out single up the middle to score Eaton with the tying run. Peguero’s mistake, obviously, loomed large.

Pollock stole second base and that led the Giants to intentionally walk Paul Goldschmidt. Sergio Romo, who doesn’t often enter in the eighth inning of tie games, was summoned and threw one pitch to retire Aaron Hill on a lineout to first base.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy probably was hoping the Giants would take the lead in the bottom of the eighth and he’d have Romo continue in a save situation. That didn’t happen. But Romo picked off a runner during a scoreless ninth to give the Giants a freeroll in the bottom of the inning.

George Kontos pitched around Bloomquist’s one-out double in the 10th, which ended with the umpires huddling to overturn a call. First base ump Tom Hallion ruled that Kontos’ foot wasn’t on the bag as the pitcher covered to force Aaron Hill. But plate umpire Ron Kulpa saw what Hallion didn’t, and they issued a “mea Kulpa” to end the inning.

Arizona manager Kirk Gibson, apparently not happy that the umpires would prioritize getting a call right over potentially embarrassing a member of their crew, staged a sufficiently long and vitriolic argument to get himself ejected for the second time in this series.

Kontos got the first out in the 10th and Javier Lopez, who got credit for the victory, pitched around a single to preserve the tie.

At the plate

Buster Posey returned to the lineup for the first time since he fractured the tip of his ring finger last Tuesday in San Diego, and was more than competent as he doubled and singled.

Tony Abreu drew a leadoff walk in the fourth and Posey’s double keyed the Giants’ two-run rally. Sanchez came through with a one-out single while driving in his 15th run in his last 18 games. But if not for a wild pitch, it would’ve been just a one-run inning.

The Giants simply must figure out a way to score more runs at AT&T Park. They scored just nine runs in the four-game series, and the fourth inning was their only solid rally against Arizona left-hander Wade Miley.

They won it in the 11th after Sanchez’s third hit set them up. Pagan, who entered as a pinch hitter in the ninth, made the most of his second at-bat with a line single to left field. Adrianza was waved around third and slid ahead of the throw as the Giants improved to just 6-6 in extra-inning games at home.

The Giants are now 2-8 in Bumgarner’s starts since the break.

In field

Hunter Pence a daring play in the third inning when he raced to the wall in foul ground, and with no more room to spare, gloved A.J. Pollock’s fly ball. It was the kind of play that a more reticent outfielder couldn’t have made, given the proximity of the wall.

Crawford’s play on Bloomquist was even more impressive, given the time he had to react.


The Giants announced 41.050 paid – keeping their sellout streak alive, officially, at 237 regular-season games. The lower decks were mostly full, too – impressive dedication on the first Sunday of the NFL season.

When is Star Wars night, again?

Up next

The Giants begin a three-game series with the Colorado Rockies at AT&T Park. Tim Lincecum (9-13, 4.50 ERA) takes the mound in Monday’s series opener against right-hander Jhoulys Chacin (13-8, 3.16), who no-hit them into the seventh inning Aug. 28 – the deepest any Rockies pitcher has ever taken a no-hit bid at Coors Field. It’ll be Ryan Vogelsong (3-5, 5.62) against left-hander Jorge De La Rosa (16-6, 3.31) on Tuesday and Yusmeiro Petit (3-0, 2.05), fresh off his near-perfect game, against right-hander Juan Nicasio (8-7, 4.68) on Wednesday.