He’s gone and done it again. Every year he sets the bar a little higher, throws down the gauntlet a little harder and inspires other players to play better.
He’s San Francisco Giants Ace, Madison Bumgarner. Bumgarner has been on the mound to pitch Opening Day for the last few years. He earned the right. Especially after he loaded the entire team on his back and carried them across the finish line in 2014.
I still get goosebumps when I picture him stepping beyond the gates at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City in the 5th inning of WS Game 7. He took the ball from Manager Bruce Bochy and tossed a nail-biting gem, securing our 3rd WS Championship in 5 years. There is only one word that describes Bumgarner: awesome. But he’s so much more.
He was no less awesome today as the Giants faced the Diamondbacks for Arizona’s home opener. Bumgarner pitched five perfect innings before giving up three runs (one was a home run) on six hits and no walks. He struck out 11.
That’s not what makes him a history maker. Today he hit home runs in consecutive at bats. Two home runs. In one game. He’s the first major league pitcher Awesome seems a little prosaic. Awe-inspiring, magnificent, impressive. Choose an adjective. He’s all of those and then some. Right this minute he leads major league baseball in home runs for the 2017 season. Savor it.
The game? Oh yeah, we lost. Too bad, too. Bumgarner could have been the winning pitcher who hit the winning run of the game–if only it ended in the 7th.
Mark Melancon gave up a couple of runs on four hits in a closing appearance that seemed eerily similar to last year’s ninth innings. That’s ok. He’s just got the new guy jitters. He’ll shake them off and be good as new. You’ll see.
The final score was:
Giants 5, Arizona 6
I didn’t mention our offense, other than Madison’s home runs. Here’s what they did: in the second inning, Eduardo Nunez singled, stole second, advanced to third on Jarrett Parker‘s groundout and scored on Joe Panik‘s sac fly. Bumgarner hit his first solo dinger to lead off the fifth. Brandon Crawford hit a double in the sixth and came home on Nunez’s base hit. Bumgarner hit his second–that’s right, his second–home run in the seventh and in the ninth, Panik led off with a triple and scored on Conor Gillaspie‘s sac fly.
In case you missed it, our pitcher hit TWO HOME RUNS in one game.
Say it loud. Say it proud.
2 April 2017