SAN FRANCISCO -- Madison Bumgarner dominated Sunday's nationally televised confrontation of National League division leaders, permitting three hits in 7 2/3 innings and doubling home the game's lone run to lead the San Francisco Giants past the Chicago Cubs, 1-0.The Cubs, whose fast start earned them the Major Leagues' best
SAN FRANCISCO -- Madison Bumgarner dominated Sunday's nationally televised confrontation of National League division leaders, permitting three hits in 7 2/3 innings and doubling home the game's lone run to lead the San Francisco Giants past the Chicago Cubs, 1-0.
The Cubs, whose fast start earned them the Major Leagues' best record, dropped two of three games to the NL West-leading Giants and have lost seven of their last 11 games overall, including two straight on the road for the first time.
Chicago loaded the bases with two outs in the first inning before Bumgarner slipped a called third strike past Addison Russell to end the threat. Thereafter, Bumgarner didn't allow a runner to stray past first base as he improved to 5-0 with a 1.25 ERA in his last six starts.
Bumgarner referred to the first-inning pressure that Chicago applied as a "slap in the face." He added, "You never want to walk out there thinking it's going to be easy. It's good to have a little competition going."
"Both teams played well; their pitcher drives in a run and that's it," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "There's nothing to be upset about. It was a pretty entertaining game."
It also was unique from Bumgarner's perspective. He earned his first career victory when the Giants totaled a single run. Before Sunday, Bumgarner was 0-23 in 29 starts when receiving one run of support.
As the scoreless tie lengthened into the middle innings, the Giants sensed it wouldn't take much to deliver the win to Bumgarner.
"We knew after I think the third or fourth inning that we just needed to get him one run. Turns out he got it for himself," third baseman Matt Duffy said.
Bumgarner did so after Gregor Blanco drew a walk from Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks to lead off San Francisco's half of the fifth. After not executing a sacrifice-bunt attempt, Bumgarner lined his hit to left field as Blanco, who broke from first base with the pitch, scored easily.
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MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Defense does it: The Giants executed several deft plays to back Bumgarner. Asked if this was the best defensive performance he could recall, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said, "It's hard to think of one. That's how well we played tonight. Everybody seems like they made one [outstanding play]."
Said center fielder Denard Span, who saved the Giants in the ninth inning by outrunning Ben Zobrist's long drive, "It took for us to make some plays like that in order to win this game."
Hendricks' solid outing: There's not much else Hendricks could have done other than driven in a run himself. He allowed three hits, two to Joe Panik and one to Bumgarner. His sore spot was the base on balls, issuing three. He retired 10 of 11 batters during one stretch.
Swinging away: It wasn't at all surprising that Bumgarner delivered the big hit the Giants needed. He's the NL's two-time defending Silver Slugger winner for offensive excellence at his position. However, for pitchers, offensive excellence means bunting, and Bumgarner was unable to execute one bunt attempt before he was freed to swing.
"I was really disappointed in myself for not getting that bunt down," Bumgarner said. "Because that's our job. That's what we're supposed to do. I'm glad it worked out the other way, but I'll be working on some bunting tomorrow."
Bullpen does the job:Travis Wood and Pedro Strop combined to throw 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief to keep the Cubs in the game. Chicago relievers combined to toss nine shutout innings in the series against the Giants. The relievers have allowed the fewest hits in the NL and rank third in ERA.
"A bad one." -- Maddon, when asked what explanation he received for Javier Baez being called out for being out of the running lane in the eighth inning
Cubs: Right-hander John Lackey starts the 7:15 p.m. CT series opener in St. Louis on Monday. He shut down the Cardinals last month over seven innings and owns a 1.86 ERA over his past four starts.
Giants: San Francisco will resume West division competition by facing the San Diego Padres in the opener of a three-game series Monday at 7:15 p.m. PT. Just last week, the Giants swept San Diego in a three-game series at Petco Park.
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Rick Eymer is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the Cubs on Sunday.
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.