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Bumgarner aces latest test vs. Dodgers

Giants starter 'crisp,' fans 7 over 7 scoreless innings
MLB.com

LOS ANGELES -- Madison Bumgarner's performance on Sunday night didn't need to be qualified, just admired.

Bumgarner blanked the Los Angeles Dodgers on five hits through seven innings, striking out seven and walking one in the Giants' 3-2 extra-innings loss. This was not merely Bumgarner at his best since his April 20 dirt-bike accident. This was not simply Bumgarner meeting the challenge of facing the ultra-elite Dodgers. This was Bumgarner excelling, period.

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LOS ANGELES -- Madison Bumgarner's performance on Sunday night didn't need to be qualified, just admired.

Bumgarner blanked the Los Angeles Dodgers on five hits through seven innings, striking out seven and walking one in the Giants' 3-2 extra-innings loss. This was not merely Bumgarner at his best since his April 20 dirt-bike accident. This was not simply Bumgarner meeting the challenge of facing the ultra-elite Dodgers. This was Bumgarner excelling, period.

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"Everything was crisp," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of Bumgarner's array of pitches, which were so effective that the Dodgers advanced just two runners into scoring position against him.

Bumgarner particularly appreciated his surroundings. Why not? He trimmed his career ERA at Dodger Stadium to 2.39 in 16 appearances (15 starts).

"It's always fun to pitch here in this environment," Bumgarner said. "The weather's good and for whatever reason, it's one of those places I enjoy throwing at."

Bochy did not consider asking Bumgarner to work longer. His spot was due up in the eighth inning and he already had thrown 99 pitches.

The Dodgers certainly have seen enough of Bumgarner. Overall against them, he's 14-9 with a 2.59 ERA in 28 games to go with 180 strikeouts and 33 walks. Dodgers hitters have mustered a .226 batting average against the Giants' ace.

Bumgarner exchanged starts with Matt Cain, who inherited Monday's assignment at the Coliseum against the A's. The Giants said that they wanted to keep Bumgarner on his normal schedule; skeptics believed that the left-hander requested the switch. Bumgarner neither confirmed nor denied anything.

"I was good either way," he said. "I wasn't going to turn it down, that's for sure, to get a chance to throw against the Dodgers, especially when they're going as good as they are. Those are the fun games."

Fun has been in short supply among the Giants, given their 40-66 record. Bumgarner has reacted to the club's woes the way he responds to most other subjects: stoically.

"I keep saying this every time, but you have to take the good with the bad," said Bumgarner, who has won three World Series championships with the Giants. "We've had a lot of success. You're not going to be successful all the time. It doesn't matter how good you are. That's just the way it is."

Improving the Giants' situation, in Bumgarner's view, will require nothing less than a complete reversal.

"The only thing that's going to turn it around is winning, obviously," he said. "It's really not a big, complicated equation."

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.

San Francisco Giants, Madison Bumgarner