SAN FRANCISCO -- Anybody longing for a vintage Madison Bumgarner performance should have been at AT&T Park on Saturday night.Bumgarner brought the zeros that he formerly plastered onto the scoreboard with regularity. He complemented his pitching with his hitting, something he hasn't done much during this season. And he ratcheted
SAN FRANCISCO -- Anybody longing for a vintage Madison Bumgarner performance should have been at AT&T Park on Saturday night.
Bumgarner brought the zeros that he formerly plastered onto the scoreboard with regularity. He complemented his pitching with his hitting, something he hasn't done much during this season. And he ratcheted up tension by hitting a batter.
This was Bumgarner, for sure. And he was enough to propel the Giants to their second shutout victory in a row, a 3-0 decision over the Rockies that dropped Colorado a half-game behind the Dodgers in the National League West race.
Bumgarner left the game with tightness in his right side after throwing only 64 pitches. He initially felt discomfort while batting in the fourth inning. Manager Bruce Bochy said removing Bumgarner was precautionary, and he is expected to make his next start.
Bumgarner still established his influence long before his premature exit. He worked six innings, allowed five hits and walked one. This contrasted sharply with Bumgarner's previous two starts, when he allowed a total of 11 earned runs in 11 innings.
Renowned for his hitting, Bumgarner entered the game with a .135 batting average -- adequate for some pitchers, but puny for him. Against Rockies starter German Marquez, however, Bumgarner led off the third inning with a booming double and came around to score the Giants' final run.
By then, plate umpire Ramon DeJesus had put both teams on notice, ordering them to mind their behavior.
The fuss began when Bumgarner hit DJ LeMahieu with a third-inning pitch. When Marquez plunked Evan Longoria in the Giants' half of the third, DeJesus pointed toward both benches and emphatically warned them not to commit further hijinks.
Marquez hit Slater in the helmet in the sixth inning, but everybody knew it was accidental, since the pitch was a curveball.
"It kind of knocked the helmet off, so it took a lot of force from the blow," Slater said.
As for Bumgarner, he emphasized to various Rockies whom he encountered on the basepaths that he meant no malice in hitting LeMahieu.
"It probably looked bad, but there was definitely no intent," Bumgarner said. "I was just trying to go inside with a fastball and ended up hitting him. I'm sure the league's probably going to assume I did. It seems like every time I throw inside, I get a fine the next day for hitting somebody."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Slater involved himself heavily in the Giants' offense for the second night in a row. Saturday, his second-inning groundout drove in Brandon Crawford and opened the scoring. Friday, his two-run single in the second inning accounted for all the scoring.
"It feels great, especially with the skid that we were on," said Slater, referring to San Francisco's 11-game losing streak. "For us to get after it early and take the lead early was a huge momentum swing. They both came from putting the ball in play. That's baseball. Something was bound to go our way."
Bumgarner has tossed 20 consecutive scoreless innings at home, dating back to his Aug. 7 start against Houston.
Right-hander Dereck Rodriguez (6-3), the Giants' Rookie of the Year candidate, will receive a chance to show his stuff for the home fans Sunday, when he opposes the Colorado Rockies in the series finale beginning at 1:05 p.m. PT. Rodriguez's 2.35 ERA is the seventh-lowest among Major Leaguers and the fourth lowest in the NL among pitchers with at least 100 innings. His percentage of quality starts (81.2) is exceeded only by Washington's Max Scherzer (86.7) and the Mets' Jacob deGrom (85.7). The Rockies will counter with Antonio Senzatela (4-6), who's 4-0 lifetime against the Giants.
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.