Bumgarner is dominant
06/15/2013 12:00 AM
06/18/2013 9:05 AM
ATLANTA – Madison Bumgarner grew up about four hours from Turner Field, so a start near his North Carolina home brought an onslaught of family and friends to the stands.
Bumgarner left about 40 tickets for Friday's game against the Atlanta Braves, and for much of the night, it appeared he would give his cheering section and everyone else at Turner Field a night they would never forget.
The left-hander took a no-hitter into the sixth inning of a 6-0 win before settling for another dominant seven-inning start against the team for which he grew up rooting.
In two starts against the Braves this season, Bumgarner has given up one run in 14 innings while striking out 21.
He allowed two hits Friday and opened with 4 2/3 perfect innings.
"This was right up there as far as his best starts, no question," manager Bruce Bochy said. "They're a good-hitting ballclub, and he's been right on in the starts he's had against them."
Bumgarner struck out five of nine the first time through the order. Asked about the point at which he started thinking about a no-hitter, Bumgarner deadpanned, "After the first out."
He recorded 14 outs before B.J. Upton drew a walk with two outs in the fifth, but Bumgarner froze Dan Uggla to record his eighth strikeout.
The final pitch to Uggla was the 81st of the night for Bumgarner, setting up a potentially awkward situation for a manager who has long thought his prized left-hander has the stuff and command to throw a no-hitter.
But Bochy never had to make a tough call in the late innings. Chris Johnson led off the sixth with a pop-up to right that dropped between outfielders Gregor Blanco and Hunter Pence and second baseman Tony Abreu.
"We should have dived for it," Blanco said. "We should have done something more, but it was in a tough spot. We're going full speed, and it was a tough one. There could have been a collision."
Bumgarner hardly seemed bothered by the flare that broke up his no-hit bid. He struck out pinch hitter Reed Johnson and then got Andrelton Simmons to hit into a double play.
"Sometimes, you see disappointment there and a loss of focus," Bochy said. "But he got his concentration right back."
Bumgarner (6-4) threw 108 pitches, 69 for strikes. He struck out 10 to reach double digits for the 11th time in his career and third time this season.
"With all his pitches, he was throwing pretty much where he wanted to the whole night," catcher Buster Posey said.
Posey was in the middle of another strong offensive night, setting a career high with three doubles and scoring twice. Posey has settled into the No.3 spot in the order, picking up multiple hits in five of his last six games.
Blanco, who has grown comfortable in the leadoff spot with Angel Pagan on the disabled list, opened the game with his first career leadoff homer.
About This BlogMatt Kawahara has covered baseball for The Sacramento Bee for three years. Kawahara, a McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley graduate, joined The Bee in 2010. Before joining Sports, he was a general assignment news reporter. Reach Kawahara at email@example.com. Twitter: @matthewkawahara.
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