Bumgarner’s Brilliance Puts Giants On Brink

The Kansas City Royals were no match for Madison Bumgarner in Game Five of the World Series. The 1927 New York Yankees would likely have had a tough night against Bumgarner. The San Francisco Giants left-hander put together one of the greatest starts in World Series history, moving the Giants to within one win of another title.

World Series: Bumgarner Shut-outs Royals; Giants One Win Away

Score: Giants 5 – Royals 0

Series: Giants lead 3-2

Game Hero: Madison Bumgarner, CG, 0 R, 4 H, 0 BB, 8 K

Game Summary: Even Don Larsen circa 1956 would have had a tough time beating Madison Bumgarner in Game Six of the 2014 World Series. Bumgarner threw the first shutout in a World Series since Josh Beckett clinched the Series for the Florida Marlins in 2003, bringing the San Francisco Giants within one win from their third World Series title in five years.

In the rematch of Game One, Kansas City Royals’ starter James Shields was more effective than he was in his first start, but only perfection would have given the Royals a chance against Bumgarner. Shields went six innings, allowing eight hits and two runs. He struck-out four and walked one in the 5-0 loss.

Shields was a bit unlucky. In the bottom of the second, Hunter Pence led-off with a single to left and he moved to second when Brandon Belt collected a bunt base-hit against the defensive shift. Both runners advanced on a flyball by Travis Ishikawa and Brandon Crawford grounded out to second to score the first run of the game.

In the bottom of the fourth, the Giants again scratched across a run via some well-placed groundballs. Game Four hero Pablo Sandoval led-off the inning with a groundball single to left. Shields retired Pence and Belt on strike-outs, but he couldn’t escape the inning. Ishikawa hit a groundball single to left, moving Sandoval to second. Crawford then blooped a hit to center to make the game 2-0. With Bumgarner on his game, that 2-0 lead seemed like 10-0.

The game remained 2-0 until the bottom of the eighth inning, when the Giants put together a three-run rally off of star Royals’ relievers Kelvin Herrera and Wade Davis. Sandoval and Pence started the eighth against Herrera with back-to-back singles. That ended the night for Herrera, who had pitched a scoreless seventh before failing to retire a batter in the eighth.

Davis then came in. After striking out Belt, Davis allowed a deep flyball to center that barely stayed in the ballpark off of the bat of Juan Perez. Davis didn’t allow a homerun all season, but Perez – who hit .170 during the regular season – came within inches of being the first to homer off Davis. The double scored two runs. Perez then scored on a Crawford base-hit. It was Crawford’s third RBI of the night and it stretched the Giants’ lead to 5-0.

The story of the night was Bumgarner, however. Omar Infante, who doubled in the top of the fifth, was the only KC base-runner to advance past first base all night. The Giants’ lefty threw 84 strikes out of 117 pitches, struck-out eight, didn't walk a batter and recorded seven outs on the ground.

Bumgarner is quickly moving up the ranks of the greatest post-season pitchers of all-time. In four World Series starts, Bumgarner has allowed one earned run in 31 innings. He has struck-out 27 and has walked just five. In 83.1 career post-season innings, Bumgarner has a 2.27 ERA and a 7-3 record. Oh, and he’s only 25.

The game took a sad turn during the middle innings when the news began to circulate that St. Louis Cardinals’ outfielder Oscar Taveras and his girlfriend Edilia Arvelo passed away earlier in the day in a car accident. The 22-year-old was one of the game’s top young talents and he had a dramatic homerun for the Cardinals versus the Giants in the NLCS. He was expected to be a starter for St. Louis next season and many anticipated that Taveras would be a star.

What’s Next: Thanks to Bumgarner’s brilliance, the Giants can clinch the World Series title on Tuesday in Kansas City. The Royals will need to win the next two games to earn their first title since 1985. On Tuesday, Jake Peavy will take the mound for San Francisco against Royals’ rookie Yordano Ventura.

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