By the end of the fifth inning Saturday, Giants left-hander Madison Bumgarner had already recorded 10 strikeouts -- the first time Bumgarner reached double digit strikeouts this season and the 20th time in his career.
Only the circumstances were a little odd: All the strikeouts had driven Bumgarner’s pitch count up to 99 by the fifth. And when he left for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the inning the Giants were trailing, 3-1.
The Giants went on to lose to the Miami Marlins, 6-2, which secured a first in the career of Bumgarner, who had never before lost a start in which he struck out 10 or more hitters. In his previous 19 such starts, Bumgarner had been 17-0, with a 1.15 ERA.
"He did have good stuff, the strikeouts showed that," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "Just, what, three, four mistakes there, and they didn’t miss them. You give them credit."
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All three of Miami’s runs off Bumgarner scored in the span of five batters in the fourth. Marcell Ozuna hit a leadoff home run, J.T. Realmuto walked and scored on Jeff Baker’s double, and Baker later scored on a double by Adeiny Hechavarria.
Otherwise, the Marlins had trouble even putting the ball in play against Bumgarner, who for the second consecutive start showed the ability to reach back for 95 miles per hour on his fastball to complement his usual array of off-speed pitches. Bumgarner struck out five hitters his first time through the lineup and struck out Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton three times -- after Stanton came in 8-for-13 in his career against Bumgarner.
"There was a few, they might not have been bad pitches, but they were the wrong pitch," Bumgarner said. "But we got away with some stuff, too.
"But you’ve got to do a better job of getting quicker outs. Just way too many pitches in five innings. I’ve got to get the pitch count down and get some quicker outs."
Bochy said that Bumgarner’s allowing three runs in five innings "is not that bad." But on a night when the Giants struggled to hit with runners on, even three runs proved too much to overcome.
The Giants went 2-for-8 with men in scoring position, and until Joe Panik’s RBI double in the ninth inning their lone such hit was a single by Brandon Crawford in the fifth that scored Justin Maxwell from second base.
The Giants put runners on first and second with two out later in the inning, but Panik hit a grounder to first base. It was the first of three innings in which the Giants put two on and didn’t score -- two-on, one-out situations fizzled with two flyouts in the seventh and with consecutive strikeouts in the eighth.
When the Marlins tacked on three runs in the eighth, it all but put the game out of reach. That brought their total to six, and the Giants still have yet to score more than six runs in a game this season.
"(Bumgarner) was good. He’s healthy and I like where he’s at," Bochy said. "Sometimes you tip your cap to the opposing hitters and you have to tonight. We’re sitting on one run going into the (ninth), that usually doesn’t work. We just couldn’t keep the line moving."
* After Bumgarner exited, the Giants bullpen combined for five more strikeouts, marking a season-high 15 for the staff. It also became just the fourth time in the San Francisco era the Giants have recorded 15 strikeouts in a nine-inning game and lost. The last came June 27, 2010, in Boston.
* Bumgarner did win the day against a couple of notable Miami hitters. One was Stanton, who had the aforementioned upper hand against Bumgarner in their previous encounters. Bumgarner struck Stanton out swinging at a curveball in the first inning. In the third, with runners on second and third and two outs, Bumgarner blew a 93 mph high fastball past a feeble swing from Stanton to end the inning.
Bumgarner gave a little laugh when asked afterward if he gets up for matching up against a power hitter like Stanton.
"You better," Bumgarner said. "I mean, you have to. You’ve got to make sure you’re on your game facing someone like that, especially with guys on base."
The other notable matchup Saturday was against Michael Morse, the former Giant who’d said Thursday he was eager to face Bumgarner after playing with him last season. Morse struck out swinging at a fastball in his first at-bat and grounded out in the fourth inning.
Asked if he’d suppressed a grin before Morse’s first at-bat, Bumgarner said: "Yeah, it’s hard not to smile when you see him. But he knew I was coming after him. I’m not going to let up just because of what he did for us, and how good of friends we are. If anything, that’ll give you a little extra, to want to get him out."
* On a quiet night for the Giants’ offense, Brandon Belt went hitless in three at-bats, and saw his streak of games in which he hit at least one double end at six. That was one short of the San Francisco record, which Jeff Kent set in 1999.
* Bochy indicated he might give one or two regulars the day off Sunday, making for two days of rest with the day off Monday.
"Nori (Aoki) got on twice today, Angel (Pagan) got a couple hits," he said. "But I think Panik might be ready to take a break here. I’m going to check with them once I’m done here. I know they want to be out there, but sometimes a couple days serves guys well."
Bochy said that after one swing Saturday, Pagan might have been favoring his left middle finger -- which has a healing laceration from being stepped on last week -- but that Pagan has maintained he’s OK to play.
"He says he’s good to go," Bochy said. "And I thought he threw out a couple nice at-bats tonight."
* Hunter Pence played his second rehab game with Triple-A Sacramento on Saturday and went hitless in three at-bats. Pence had a strikeout, a flyout and reached on an error.
The River Cats provided a transcript of Pence’s press conference earlier in the afternoon, in which he discussed his recovery and playing in Sacramento. A few highlights:
Pence on his recovery: "It’s been a long journey, for sure. Having an injury that not too many people have had, I didn’t realize the amount of work rehab really is, and how long it was going to be, and how painful. It’s just a long process. Your days are really, extremely long, trying to just get the wrist back moving as quick as possible, and a lot of treatment. I owe so much gratitude to our training staff, the amount of work they put in. It’s a long time sitting there, twisting a wrist, and holding hands with people. It’s been tough."
On the experience of playing in Sacramento: "It’s been incredible. It’s really nice to be able to just hop in a car and drive out here, and Sacramento is a beautiful town. I just got a little bit of time driving around, but you got a nice river and a beautiful stadium here. The fans were enthusiastic last night and it’s a nice setup, and I feel pretty grateful to come here and play some ball."
And on whether he’ll be taking his scooter around the streets of downtown Sac: "The scooter doesn’t have the battery life to get down here. Maybe one day. That’d be pretty fun to have a little scooter cruise around town."
* Quick turnaround to a day game Sunday. It’s Ryan Vogelsong (1-2, 6.84) against Mat Latos (1-3, 5.60). First pitch at 1:05 p.m.