Streaky good: MadBum, Giants cruise in Game 1

Lefty 3-0 in Fall Classic; SF wins 7th straight in Series, snaps KC run

October 21st, 2014

KANSAS CITY -- Madison Bumgarner continued to ensure his place in baseball history, while the Giants kept pursuing theirs with a 7-1 triumph over the Kansas City Royals in Tuesday night's World Series opener at Kauffman Stadium.

Hunter Pence's two-run homer fueled a rare three-run first inning as the Giants proceeded to complement Bumgarner's seven-inning effort with their second-highest scoring total of the postseason. The combination subdued a Kauffman Stadium crowd poised to bellow its approval over the Royals' feats. But those feats never occurred.

"It's definitely a good feeling to play the way we did here, because we knew it was an intense atmosphere," Pence said.

Bumgarner put the "classic" in Fall Classic, blanking Kansas City until Salvador Perez homered with two outs in the seventh inning. That froze Bumgarner's career-opening streak of World Series shutout innings to 21, second all-time only to Hall of Famer Christy Mathewson's 28. Bumgarner also had lengthened his postseason road scoreless streak to 32 2/3 innings, extending his own Major League record. The left-hander, who allowed three hits, also earned his sixth postseason victory, breaking a tie with Mathewson and teammate Tim Lincecum for the franchise mark.

By contrast, Royals starter James Shields lasted just three batters into the fourth inning, allowing five runs and seven hits. Pence doubled and scored to help chase Shields before Joe Panik's RBI triple prompted a two-run uprising in the seventh inning.

San Francisco notched its 16th victory in the club's last 18 postseason games while handing the Royals, participating in their first Series since 1985, their initial loss after eight victories in their charmed postseason.

Purists who snub diluted October statistics due to postseason expansion and regard only World Series statistics as legitimate, take note: The Giants own a seven-game World Series winning streak. That's tucked in a 9-1 Series stretch during which they outscored Texas, Detroit and, now, Kansas City, 52-19.

The Giants also took a large step toward posterity. With three more victories in their best-of-seven confrontation against Kansas City, they would become only the second National League team to capture three World Series trophies in five seasons, joining St. Louis (1942, '44 and '46).

The Giants have history as an ally. Winners of the first game eventually captured the Series 68 times, or 62.4 percent. Moreover, the first-game victor took the Series in 10 of the previous 11 years and 15 out of the last 17.

Garnering another win: Bumgarner improved to 3-0 with a 0.41 ERA in three World Series starts. The 25-year-old joined a short list of pitchers to win three World Series games by age 26: Jim Palmer, Babe Ruth, Ernie Shore, Smokey Joe Wood and Mathewson.

Bumgarner asserted himself in the third inning, which began with Brandon Crawford's fielding error on Omar Infante's grounder and Mike Moustakas' double. Bumgarner recovered by striking out Alcides Escobar and Nori Aoki before he walked Lorenzo Cain to load the bases. Eric Hosmer ended the drama by grounding out on the first pitch.

"Those strikeout situations, we were going for them and trying to keep them off the board," Bumgarner said. "That's nice. That's one of my favorite things to be able to do in baseball, to work through a situation like that one."

Bumgarner retired the next 12 Royals batters before Perez homered.

Jumping out: The Giants collected five hits in the first inning off Shields, more than they amassed on Aug. 9 when he shut them out in a four-hitter. This time, Gregor Blanco's leadoff single put Shields on the defensive. The biggest hit, of course, was Pence's first homer of this postseason, which he sliced an estimated 403 feet into the right-field stands. This marked the 11th time that a team scored three runs in the first inning of a World Series opener.

Kansas City manager Ned Yost acknowledged that Shields wasn't at his best.

"He was laboring at times with the secondary stuff," Yost said. "Normally, when he's really, really good, he's spotting his fastball well, and his changeup is dynamite. He was really struggling to command his changeup tonight."

Ending a four-day layoff, the Giants could have been expected to struggle offensively.

"Nothing they do surprises me," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said, "because it's a group that comes ready."

Going fourth: Having preserved their momentum by escaping Kansas City's half of the third, the Giants added a pair of fourth-inning runs. A key development was Bochy's removal of left-handed-batting Travis Ishikawa for Juan Perez, a right-handed hitter, when left-hander Danny Duffy relieved Shields. Perez executed a sacrifice bunt. It ultimately made little difference, because a bases-loaded walk to Blanco forced in Brandon Belt with the inning's second run. But Perez's entry, along with his bunt that put runners on second and third, reflected Bochy's intent to seal the victory right then and there.

"I know it's early in the game, but with the left-hander out there, I just decided to hit for Ishi," said Bochy, who likely would have substituted Perez for Ishikawa in left field at some juncture of the game. "[Perez] is a good bunter, so you try to put a little more pressure on them. He laid down a perfect bunt. ... Really, it was a win-win for me. ... I'm putting my best defense out there, and putting a guy up there who can advance runners."

"It's tough not to pay attention to a streak when you've got it going. I don't care. I'm not here trying to set records and keep streaks going and whatever, but you do know about it. A World Series game is not something you exactly forget about. So you remember what [the streaks] were. But tonight, that was the last thing on my mind."

-- Bumgarner, on his multiple scoreless-inning streaks


Besides generating offense by singling, walking twice, scoring two runs and driving in one, Blanco contributed a nice running catch on Hosmer's first-inning line drive.

"I didn't think there was any way he was going to catch that ball, and he ran it down fairly easily, but it was still a spectacular play," Yost said.

• This marked the first time that a road team won a World Series opener since 2009, when Philadelphia emerged triumphant at Yankee Stadium.
• The Game 1 winner won each of the previous six postseason series this season.
• Javier Lopez pitched a scoreless eighth inning for the Giants, making his 16th consecutive postseason appearance without allowing a run.

Veteran Jake Peavy will start for the Giants against Royals rookie Yordano Ventura on Wednesday in Game 2 at Kauffman Stadium. FOX's telecast will begin at 4:30 p.m. PT., with first pitch slated for 5:07.