Giants' Madison Bumgarner can beat anyone, anywhere, any October

Has there ever been a surer thing than Madison Bumgarner in a big game?

The Giants ace continued his postseason dominance on Wednesday night, twirling a four-hit shutout to lift the Giants to a 3-0 win over the Mets. The lefthander allowed four hits and walked two, striking out six as San Francisco moved on to the NL Division Series for a showdown with the 103-win Cubs.

“I like our chances,” Bumgarner said. “I’ll go to battle with these guys any day.”

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Why wouldn’t he? The Giants have been October monsters this decade, winning the World Series in all three of their trips to the postseason: 2010, ’12 and ’14. The even-number trend has a chance to continue thanks to Bumgarner and Conor Gillaspie, whose three-run homer in the ninth against Jeurys Familia gave the Giants a lead with three outs to go.

Bumgarner was almost out of the game for those final outs, as manager Bruce Bochy had sent Jarrett Parker to the on-deck circle to hit for the starter if the Giants hadn’t scored. Gillaspie’s clutch home run made that a moot point, but with all the excitement, Parker had run to the plate to welcome Gillaspie home, causing Bochy to shout from the dugout to make sure the umpire didn’t mark him down as an official pinch-hitter.

“I told Bum, ‘Listen, we score and you’re still in there,’” Bochy said. “I’ll be honest, I was a little nervous because Parker was there in the batter’s box high-fiving him, screaming to get him out of there.”

Bumgarner matched Noah Syndergaard all night, going pitch for pitch with the Mets starter. He threw only 21 pitches in the first three innings, allowing him to go deep into the game even after throwing 48 pitches in the fourth and fifth.

The Mets’ scoring opportunities came in the fifth following T.J. Rivera’s leadoff double, then again in the eighth, when Ty Kelly singled and moved to second with two out.

With Kelly in scoring position, Asdrubal Cabrera hit a hard liner up the middle that Bumgarner snared in his glove, causing him to scream and pump his fist. On his way off the mound, he fired the ball into the stands — though he knew exactly where he was throwing it.

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Madison Bumgarner (r.) is toast of town (not this one) after lefty comes up aces again for San Francisco, which advances to NL Division Series to play Cubs after shutout of Mets.

(Al Bello/Getty Images)

“If that gets by me, it’s a good chance it puts a run on the board for them; just to be able to snag that thing was pretty big for us,” Bumgarner said. “It’s OK to say it now, but that was our family section, so I just threw the ball there.”

Following Gillaspie’s home run, Bumgarner came out and sat the Mets down in order, ending their season while sending the Giants to Chicago.

“This game was everything we thought,” Bochy said. “Two really outstanding pitchers going at it. It was as advertised.”

In seven career starts against the Mets (regular season and postseason), Bumgarner is now 6-0 with a 1.47 ERA.

“He’s one of the game’s great big-game pitchers,” Terry Collins said.

Including his four-hit shutout of the Pirates in the 2014 wild card game and his five innings of scoreless relief in Game 7 of that year’s World Series against the Royals, Bumgarner has now thrown 23 consecutive scoreless innings in winner-take-all games.

Overall, Bumgarner extended his postseason scoreless streak to 23 innings, improving to 8-3 with a 1.94 ERA in 15 games (13 starts).

“It’s hard to have any more confidence than what we have in Bum,” Bochy said, “especially in a game like this.”

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Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News

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