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Bumgarner, Giants beat KC 3-2 to win World Series

October 30, 2014

KANSAS CITY, Missouri (AP) — Madison Bumgarner punctuated a World Series performances for the ages by pitching the San Francisco Giants to their third title in five years with a 3-2 win over the Kansas City Royals in Game 7 on Wednesday night.

The big left-hander came out of the bullpen to throw five scoreless innings on two days’ rest, saving a Series pushed to the limit. And by winning Game 7 on the road, Bumgarner and the Giants succeeded where no team had in 3 1/2 decades.

“I wasn’t thinking about innings or pitch count. I was just thinking about getting outs, getting outs, until I couldn’t get them anymore and we needed someone else,” Bumgarner said in a monotone that made it sound as though he was talking about batting practice.

A two-out misplay in the ninth almost wrecked it for him.

Bumgarner had retired 14 in a row when Alex Gordon sent a drive to center. Bumgarner pointed his glove in the air, thinking it could be the final out, but the ball fell in front of center fielder Gregor Blanco for a single. Blanco, however, allowed it to roll past him to the wall, and left fielder Juan Perez kicked the ball before throwing to shortstop Brandon Crawford in short left, causing Gordon to hold at third.

“When it got by him, I had a smile on my face. I thought maybe I could score, but he got to it quickly enough,” Gordon said. “I just put my head down and ran, almost fell around second base, was just waiting for Jirsch (third base coach Mike Jirschele) to give me the signal. It was a good hold, he had the ball in plenty of time.”

Blanco hoped for the best.

“We just need one more out. We got this. Let’s do it,” he thought to himself.

Bumgarner, the Series MVP, then retired Salvador Perez on a foul out to third baseman Pablo Sandoval near the Giants’ dugout. The 25-year-old ace was immediately embraced by catcher Buster Posey, and the rest of the Giants rushed to the mound to join the victory party.

Most of the San Francisco players tossed their gloves high in the air as they ran to the center of the diamond.

“What a warrior he is, and truly incredible what he did throughout the postseason,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “I just told him I just can’t believe what he accomplished through all this. He’s such a humble guy, and we rode him pretty good.”

Three days after throwing 117 pitches in a four-hit shutout to win Game 5, Bumgarner threw 68 more and dropped his record-low career Series ERA to a barely visible 0.25.

Bumgarner initially was credited with the win. But nearly an hour after the final out, the official scorers awarded it to Jeremy Affeldt, who was in the game when San Francisco took the lead.

Affeldt pitched 2 1-3 innings of scoreless relief in his longest outing since July 2012. He was helped by the first reversal in the Series by expanded instant replay, which gave the Giants a double play on Eric Hosmer’s grounder, which second baseman Joe Panik stopped with a dive and flipped to Crawford with his glove for the relay.

Bumgarner joined Cincinnati’s Rawley Eastwick in 1975 as the only pitchers with at least two wins and a save in a World Series, and the 15-out save set a Series record.

With it all, Bumgarner etched his place in postseason lore among the likes of Christy Mathewson, Babe Ruth, Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, Reggie Jackson, Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling and David Ortiz — players whose indelible October performances led their team to titles.

Posey expected Bumgarner to throw three innings, then turn over the game to setup man Sergio Romo and closer Santiago Casilla — who threw four pitches in the entire Series.

“But he just kept rolling,” Posey said. “I mean, it’s unbelievable.”

Consecutive sacrifice flies by Michael Morse and Brandon Crawford put the Giants ahead 2-0 on the second against Jeremy Guthrie, but Tim Hudson gave the lead right back in the bottom half on Gordon’s RBI double and Omar Infante’s sacrifice fly.

Morse hit a go-ahead single in the fourth on a 99 mph (160 kph) fastball from reliever Kelvin Herrera to break a 2-2 deadlock, and the Giants eked out a battle of bullpens on a night when both starting pitchers made unusually quick exits.

The became the second National League team with three titles in a five-year span, matching the St. Louis Cardinals of 1942-46.

Home teams had won nine straight Game 7s in the Series since Pittsburgh’s victory at Baltimore in 1979, including the Royals’ 11-0 rout of St. Louis in 1985. Teams hosting the first two games had won 23 of the last 28 titles, including five in a row. And the Giants had lost all four of their previous World Series pushed to the limit.

But before a pumped-up, blue-and-white-clad crowd of 40,535 that hoped noise and passion could lift the small-market Royals to a title that seemed improbable when Kansas City was languishing two games under .500 in mid-July, the Giants won the second all-wild card World Series, 12 years after losing Game 7 to the Angels in the first.

Hudson and Guthrie combined for 15 outs — matching the fewest by Game 7 starters. Hudson, at 39 became the oldest Game 7 starter. The 35-year-old Guthrie took the loss.

With his shaggy hair making him look every bit a gunslinger, Bumgarner entered to boos in the bottom of the fifth, coated his long arms with rosin and groomed the pocked-up mound with his spikes.

He gave up an opposite-field single to his first batter, Infante, then didn’t allow a runner until the ninth. Bumgarner gave up two hits, struck out four and walked none. He pitched 52 2-3 postseason innings, 4 1-3 more than the previous mark set by Schilling for Arizona in 2001, and finished with 270 innings combined, including the regular season.

“Yeah, it was hopeless,” Royals manager Ned Yost said.

Pence batted .444 in the Series and Sandoval, a free-agent-to-be playing perhaps his last game for the Giants, finished at .429 following a three-hit night.

The Giants, a 20-1 longshot when 2014 odds were first posted a year ago, won their eighth title and third since moving from New York to San Francisco after the 1957 season. They also have won 10 straight postseason rounds, one shy of the record set by the New York Yankees from 1998-01.

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