Giants see familiar faces in All-Star Game
Bumgarner retires Royals' Perez; Posey catches teammate plus Dodgers
CINCINNATI -- If anyone knows how important home-field advantage is in a World Series, it's the Giants, who last year became the first team in 35 years to win a Game 7 on the road.
Those memories crossed the mind of at least one Giants player during Tuesday's All-Star Game presented by T-Mobile, even if it didn't linger very long.
Madison Bumgarner, for one, did ponder the situation, briefly, as he worked through the fourth inning of the American League's 6-3 victory. It was probably fitting that he was thinking about the home-field advantage factor while pitching to Salvador Perez, the very batter whom Bumgarner retired for the final out of the 2014 World Series.
"It did [go through my mind] a little bit," Bumgarner said with a small grin. "It did, just for a minute at the beginning. But then you settle in. It's an important game."
Catcher Buster Posey admitted the Perez at-bat was "a little strange."
"The first pitch was a very similar spot as the one Perez popped up," Posey said, referring to the last out of 2014. "Perez put together some tough at-bats tonight."
Home-field advantage means different things to different teams, depending on their place in the standings. Clubs such as the Giants, Dodgers, Pirates and Nationals, for example, probably had a little more of a rooting interest in the actual outcome of this game.
They left Great American Ball Park knowing that if they do reach the World Series, and it does get to a Game 6 or 7, they'll have to win the title as the road team, thanks to the AL's All-Star victory.
There wasn't much in the way of moping after this game, however. Most players expressed appreciation to have been a part of the festivities, largely unconcerned with the final score.
Bumgarner had plenty of positives to draw from the experience. This was his third All-Star Game, but the first time he pitched in it. He also was able to team up with his regular batterymate, Posey, who started the game and played five innings.
"It was fun," Bumgarner said. "It was nice to just see a familiar face back there. It really felt just like any other game. Just me and him working together."
Posey, who was outfitted in shiny gold catcher's gear specially made for this game, had the unique opportunity to pair up with his own teammate as well as two from the Giants' biggest division rival -- the Dodgers' Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw.
"It's a different feel catching a guy as opposed to facing him as a hitter," Posey said of the Dodgers pitchers. "They've all got great stuff."
Overall, the Giants had a good showing in the game. Bumgarner and Posey perhaps generated a little more attention than teammates Brandon Crawford and Joe Panik, who were hitless, but all expressed a fondness for the experience and for playing for their skipper, Bruce Bochy.
"It was just fun to be out there on the field with all of these guys," Crawford said. "They're the best players in the National League and the best players in the American League. Just to be a part of that game was pretty exciting. I had a lot of fun. That was my plan going into the game, just to have fun and treat it like a regular game, and that's kind of how it felt."