SAN FRANCISCO -- The genuine Madison Bumgarner showed up Thursday at AT&T Park. You know him. He's the guy who strings together zeros on the scoreboard like pearls on a necklace, for whom pitching late into the game is an imperative, not an anomaly, and who considers generating offense as
SAN FRANCISCO -- The genuine Madison Bumgarner showed up Thursday at AT&T Park. You know him. He's the guy who strings together zeros on the scoreboard like pearls on a necklace, for whom pitching late into the game is an imperative, not an anomaly, and who considers generating offense as important as preventing it.
Bumgarner's fingerprints were all over the Giants' 3-0 victory over the Padres, which was exactly the way he wanted it as he secured his first win of the season.
Bumgarner went eight innings and never encountered serious trouble in the series opener against the Padres, who have lost five consecutive games. The left-hander didn't go more than six innings in any of his first three starts this year.
"It feels like everything keeps improving and kind of getting back in the swing of things," Bumgarner said. "Command was the biggest jump for me tonight. It's good that's coming along."
Bumgarner issued two walks, struck out eight and yielded three hits. Two of them were doubles by Manuel Margot, the only Padres player to reach scoring position.
"They've got some guys that you need to be careful with," Bumgarner said after the Giants (38-38) returned to the .500 mark. "They've got a good lineup. I felt good about that. I was able to keep it off the barrels for the most part. It was a good overall game."
Padres manager Andy Green indicated that Bumgarner altered his pitching pattern to adjust to San Diego's hitters.
"He changed today for us," Green said. "There was a lot of offspeed thrown, a lot more than I've ever seen him throw, and a different type of mix. It caught us off-guard."
Bumgarner has been slow to regain his form due to the fractured fifth metacarpal in his left hand he sustained in Spring Training, which delayed his season debut to June 5. On Thursday, however, he looked every bit like the 2014 postseason hero and four-time All-Star who has maintained the Giants' pitching-rich tradition.
Bumgarner immediately felt ready to deliver a strong effort, which was unusual for him.
"I don't put a lot of stock in the bullpen before the game," Bumgarner said. "But today, I could tell that my stuff was picking up a little."
Even Buster Posey, who caught Bumgarner during warmups and the game, was pleasantly surprised when his batterymate remarked on his physical surge.
"He has as good of body awareness as anybody," Posey said, "so I took that as a good sign."
Bumgarner asserted himself at the plate as well, hoisting a fifth-inning sacrifice fly to drive in the Giants' first run. Alen Hanson's leadoff triple in the eighth led to a two-run rally, which included a Posey RBI single, and cleared the way for Mark Melancon to record his first save since June 20, 2017.
"It was the Madison we know," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "He really hit his spots. Great focus out there, had all his pitches going. He mixed it up well and hit his spots. He knocks in the first run. It was a type of game we've seen so many times from him."
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Run prevented: The Padres had a chance to score in the fifth, which began with Jose Pirela's single. One out later, Margot hit his second double, which right fielder Andrew McCutchen played smoothly off the wall. Second baseman Joe Panik took McCutchen's relay and flung another strike to Posey. Ignoring third-base coach Glenn Hoffman's stop sign, Pirela charged home and was easily tagged out by Posey.
"I thought if [Pirela] kept going that we would have him," Bochy said. "The cutoff and relay are so important. If you execute it, you can save yourself a lot of runs."
This was the Giants' 100th victory over the Padres at AT&T Park, which opened in 2000.
Chris Stratton is scheduled to start Friday's 7:15 p.m. PT game against the Padres. The right-hander has done exactly what he is supposed to do: Keep the team in the game. San Francisco is 11-4 in Stratton's starts, including 6-1 at AT&T Park. Stratton has found a semblance of a groove, having allowed three or fewer earned runs in each of his last six starts. Stratton will be opposed by a familiar Giants foe -- left-hander Clayton Richard.
Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.