Giants manager Bruce Bochy summed up Madison Bumgarner’s performance Sunday in the most succinct way possible.
“He did it all,” Bochy said.
Bumgarner threw a shutout, struck out 14 and hit a solo home run and an RBI double to lift the Giants to a four-game sweep of the Washington Nationals with a 5-0 win. The left-hander became the second San Francisco Giants pitcher to throw a shutout with double-digit strikeouts and homer in the same game.
The other was Hall of Famer Juan Marichal, who was in the audience on an unusually warm afternoon at AT&T Park.
“He’s awesome,” Marichal said. “I want to congratulate him twice – for the pitching and for the hitting. What a game.”
He’s a master. He’s calm on the mound, you know? It seems to me that nothing gets him out of control.
Giants Hall of Famer Juan Marichal on Madison Bumgarner
It was the second game this season in which a pitcher hurled a shutout with at least 14 strikeouts. The Nationals’ Max Scherzer, whom the Giants knocked out of Friday’s game after the third inning, had 16 strikeouts in a one-hitter against Milwaukee on June 14.
Despite the strikeout total, which tied his career high, Bumgarner needed just 112 pitches to polish off the complete game. According to baseball-reference.com, it was just the ninth time in the past 100 seasons a pitcher threw so few pitches in a complete game while striking out at least 14. The last was Clayton Kershaw’s no-hitter for the Los Angeles Dodgers against Colorado last June.
“You don’t take it for granted at all. It’s a special outing,” said Giants catcher Buster Posey. “Probably it’s up there for the best one of the year, for me.”
Bumgarner struck out the side in the first inning and the Giants played sharp defense in the second, as left fielder Justin Maxwell made a diving catch and Bumgarner snagged an Ian Desmond liner up the middle. Bumgarner walked Jayson Werth to start the third inning but stranded Werth at second, the farthest any Nationals runner reached. Shortstop Brandon Crawford saved a possible run in the fifth with two outs and Desmond on second, making a highlight-reel backhand stop and throw across his body on Wilson Ramos’ chopper.
The top three hitters in Washington’s lineup went a combined 1 for 12 with nine strikeouts, including three by National League OPS leader Bryce Harper, who waved at sliders in the first and fourth innings and took a fastball down the middle for Bumgarner’s 14th strikeout in the ninth.
Bochy said he thought Bumgarner (14-6, 2.98 ERA) had “really good focus out there, and good stuff, command of all his pitches.” Marichal said he saw the same thing.
“The command, his control,” Marichal said. “I think when you have that command, most of the time you’re going to pitch a good game.
10 Career homers by Madison Bumgarner
“He’s a master. He’s calm on the mound, you know? It seems to me that nothing gets him out of control.”
Bochy said he hardly needed to look at Bumgarner during the bottom of the eighth to know the left-hander wanted to go out for the ninth. It was Bumgarner’s second consecutive complete game – he struck out 12 Tuesday in a win against Houston – and third of the season. If Bumgarner had his preference, Marichal said, that number would be higher.
“It seems to me that every time he’s on the mound, he wants to go nine,” Marichal said. “Today you don’t see too many like Madison.”
Nationals starter Joe Ross actually had one more strikeout than Bumgarner through three innings (six), but he allowed an RBI double to Brandon Belt and a two-run homer to Hunter Pence in the fourth. Bumgarner lined an RBI double to right-center that scored Kelby Tomlinson in the fifth, when Ross’ outing ended. In the seventh, Bumgarner crushed a 1-1 slider from Casey Janssen to left for his fourth homer of the season and 10th of his career.
That allowed Bumgarner to match Marichal, who Sunday recalled the Sept. 12, 1963, game against the New York Mets in which he struck out 13 and homered off Tracy Stallard. The game was at the Polo Grounds, and as Marichal remembered it, “I didn’t hit a cheap one. No, it was way up there.”
Way up into rarified company, unmatched by a Giants pitcher for more than 50 years, until Sunday.
“Anytime you win a game and hit a home run, I think that’s something extra, you know?” Marichal said. “And I know that Madison Bumgarner feels the same way today. Hell of a game. Oh, yeah.”