Madison Bumgarner threw 107 pitches on Saturday night, not one of which the left-hander delivered with the Giants losing. Only his final walk from mound to dugout, in the top of the seventh inning, was performed under that circumstance.
Phillies catcher Cameron Rupp hit Bumgarner’s last pitch for a two-run homer, handing the Giants a 3-2 loss and upending what for six innings had appeared to be another Bumgarner gem. The Phillies scored all three of their runs in a span of four batters in the seventh, sending the Giants to just their second loss in 14 games.
Bumgarner did not allow a hit through the first four innings, struck out seven and exited with his season ERA still a tick under 2.00 – at 1.99. But he lost his second consecutive outing, following a streak of 10 straight Bumgarner starts the Giants had won.
“He threw well,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “You look at his game, that’s a pretty good effort he gave us. Just made a mistake there the guy hit out to the big part of the park, straight-away center. That was the big hit, the difference.”
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Tommy Joseph, an ex-Giants prospect, led off the seventh with a double. Maikel Franco, who had broken up Bumgarner’s fledgling no-hit bid with a double in the fifth, flied out to right. But Andres Blanco hit a chopper back up the middle that missed Bumgarner’s glove by inches and bounced into center field for an RBI single.
Bumgarner then fell behind Rupp, 3-0, before working the count full. His seventh pitch of the at-bat was a 90 mph fastball that Rupp hammered onto the netting over the garden beyond the center-field wall, erasing the Giants’ early two-run lead.
“The ground ball up the middle I should’ve caught,” Bumgarner said. “I didn’t go back and look, but I don’t know how I missed it. I felt like I had it the whole way. That may change the inning there.
“But then getting behind to Rupp, you’ve got to come in the zone. I don’t want to put the go-ahead run on base. So just had to go after him, and he got us. It wasn’t a great pitch, but you don’t want to walk him, either.”
It marked the first time since April 15 against the Dodgers that Bumgarner had allowed more than two earned runs in an outing. His streak of 12 starts allowing two or fewer equaled the longest in franchise history since 1920, when Jesse Barnes had 13 in a row.
“Madison’s human,” said second baseman Joe Panik. “And he’s going to have innings like that. I thought he pitched very well. It’s just sometimes that one inning can get you and tonight it did.”
Panik proved his own fallibility on the base-paths on a critical play in the eighth inning. After leading off the inning with a single, Panik took second on a wild pitch and stayed there as Brandon Belt flied out and Buster Posey drew a walk.
Brandon Crawford then hit a sinking liner to left field that Panik read as a hit, putting his head down and heading for third. But the ball hung just long enough for Tyler Goeddel to make a sliding catch and an easy throw to second to double up Panik, who pounded his helmet to the ground with a look of disbelief.
“In that situation you try to be aggressive,” Panik said. “It’s the tying run at second, and if that ball drops, you need to score. It was a good play by him. Obviously hindsight is 20-20, guess you’ve got to make a better read. But my gut instinct was to go.”
A similarly aggressive play by Panik had helped the Giants score a run in the third inning – when he went from first to third on Belt’s single through the right side and scored on a sacrifice fly from Posey. The Giants’ only other run came in the second when Joseph booted a ground ball to first with the bases loaded that would have been the last out of the inning.
“The way the game was going, low-scoring affair, we didn’t have too many hits tonight,” Panik said. “So like I said, in the eighth inning you need to be aggressive no matter what. Unfortunately it was the wrong choice, but I wouldn’t change what I did.”
It was one of several missed opportunities that haunted the Giants. They did not turn the Joseph error into more runs, as Denard Span lined out to center to end the inning. They went 16 straight batters without a hit between the third and eighth innings, mostly against Phillies right-hander Jeremy Hellickson, who entered with a 4.41 ERA. Crawford lined out three times, all to left field.
The Giants couldn’t take advantage of a chance to be the first team in the majors this year to 49 wins, or to pick up a game on the Dodgers, who lost in Pittsburgh.
“We had some chances,” Bochy said. “And the thing about the game: It’s baseball.”