Bumgarner dominates as Giants beat Cardinals 3-0 in NLCS Game 1
The lead up to the National League Championship Series -- a lengthy one, given that both division series ended in four games -- yielded familiar storylines. The Cardinals and the Giants were looking for a spot in the World Series. This was St. Louis' fourth straight NLCS appearance, as well as San Francisco's third trip in five years. The clubs faced off in the 2012 edition.
A pair of aces got the series started: Cardinals righty Adam Wainwright and Giants southpaw Madison Bumgarner. Wainwright was looking to rebound from his less-than-effective NLDS appearance (six runs in 4 1/3 innings), while Bumgarner had allowed two earned runs in 16 postseason innings.
Travis Ishikawa's night ended early when manager Bruce Bochy inserted Juan Perez as a defensive replacement in the sixth, but Ishikawa made the most of his chances while he had them. That included a bases-loaded bloop single in the second to give the Giants a 1-0 advantage. Matt Carpenter's best effort wasn't enough:
That lead tripled by the end of the third. The Giants added another run in the second when Carpenter muffed a Gregor Blanco grounder, and Brandon Belt lifted a sac fly to center in the third. That one brought Buster Posey home:
Wainwright was merely mediocre. He gave up three runs (two earned) on six hits and three walks in 4 2/3 innings:
Wainwright has thrown 98+ pitches while failing to complete five innings just three times in his career -- two have come in this postseason.- Paul Casella (@paul_casella) October 12, 2014
The Cards appeared to be on the verge of breaking through until Bumgarner remembered, "Hey, I'm Madison Bumgarner." He struck out pinch-hitter Tony Cruz to strand two runners in the bottom of the seventh.
Fist pumps ensued:
The Game Changer
You could point to any number of individual plays that said, "Yeah, this is definitely going the Giants' way," and they all have one thing in common: Bumgarner. He dominated.
Bumgarner scattered four hits and a walk while striking out seven over his 7 2/3 shutout innings. That gives him a 0.76 ERA (two earned in 23 2/3 innings) and 23 strikeouts in three starts this postseason:
Bumgarner is the first pitcher ever to turn in three straight scoreless postseason starts on the road. He is absolutely locked in right now.- Paul Casella (@paul_casella) October 12, 2014
Other Key Players, Plays
The Giants' two-run rally in the second started when Pablo Sandoval (3-for-4, walk) reached on a double. St. Louis right fielder Randal Grichuk nearly came down with the drive, but dropped the ball after colliding with the wall:
As Bumgarner took care of business like most expected he would, he received a bit of help to end the fourth. Ishikawa made a diving catch in left to rob Yadier Molina, and the impressive grab left the catcher less than pleased:
In the seventh came an instance when Bumgarner's 6-foot-5, 235-pound frame worked to his advantage. He covered first base on Kolten Wong's grounder to first, and upon receiving a feed from Belt, Bumgarner converged with Wong, bumping the St. Louis rookie just as he applied the tag:
The Cards and Giants will get the spotlight as the lone postseason game Sunday. Game 2 is at 8 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1, live from Busch Stadium.
Right-hander Jake Peavy gets the ball for San Fran looking to build on his 5 2/3 innings of two-hit shutout ball against the Nationals in the NLDS. The Cards' own righty, Lance Lynn, will pitch for the first time in eight days. He held Los Angeles to two runs in six innings Oct. 4, and he has lasted at least six innings in 16 of his last 17 starts.