San Francisco Giants’ wild-card notes from Steel-Town black-out
By Mark ONeill
Last night’s victory by the San Francisco Giants over the Pittsburgh Pirates opens a new chapter of postseason play. Here are some details to accompany last night’s recap.
The Giants won their eighth consecutive postseason game, dating back to 2012, when they took the last three games against the St. Louis Cardinals to nail down the National League Pennant. They followed these with four straight against the Tigers and then the win last night.
The Pirates had one base runner get as far as third base and only two others got even as far as second.
In winning Wednesday night’s showdown with the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Giants have now been on the winning side of the ledger seven straight times in win-or-go-home games. Last night’s win brings to seven the number of consecutive postseason series wins for San Francisco. These include victories over the Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, Texas Rangers, Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals, Detroit Tigers, and Pittsburgh Pirates.
Madison Bumgarner threw 79 of his 109 pitches, Wednesday night, for strikes. That’s 72 percent of the time.
Madison Bumgarner threw a complete-game shutout against the Pirates.
In reading MLB.com’s recap of last night’s game, Chris Haft reported that Bumgarner’s shutout was only the tenth shutout with at least ten strikeouts and fewer than five hits in MLB history, Sandy Koufax and Randy Johnson (twice) being the only other left-handed pitchers to have accomplished the feat.
Bumgarner had at least one strikeout in every inning except the seventh, and I had four of those strikeouts marked down in my scoresheet as being 2-3 putouts, from Buster Posey having to recover balls in the dirt that batters swung at and missed and throw them onto first to record the out.
The Pirates, who had 104 stolen bases during the season, did not record one theft Wednesday night.
Brandon Crawford’s grand slam was only one in a series of Giants’ postseason slams, the others being hit by Chuck Hiller in the 1962 World Series, Will Clark against Greg Maddux in 1989, and Buster Posey against the Reds in 2012.
Bumgarner’s performance is a reminder that he was named National League’s pitcher of the month in both May and August.
I mentioned in my “Three Keys to Giants’ Success” piece, than nothing silenced a big crowd more effectively when the opposing pitcher is on the mound than strikeouts, and MadBum had ten, including one of Andrew McCutchen swinging to end the first inning.
Bumgarner’s masterpiece was the ninth complete-game in Giants postseason history.
Brandon Crawford had a .150 batting average against Volquez going into the wild card showdown.
was batting only .150 off ofEdinson Volquez
going into Wednesday’s game.
Clint Hurdle’s comment after the game: “It’s a game designed to break your heart.”
Hurdle’s decision to start Gerrit Cole in Sunday’s season finale has been debated much, but no one can fault him for wanting to go all-out to win the division. Bruce Bochy has said in recent weeks, when asked about Don Mattingly’s switching his rotation around, that he felt comfortable going with any of his starters, so it does not make sense to criticize Hurdle for having confidence in his pitching staff.
The last time Bumgarner faced the Pirates, in late July at AT&T Park, Bumgarner gave up four runs in the first inning and went on to take the loss.
PNC Park set a new attendance mark, Wednesday night, with 40,629 fans, most of them decked out in black. The trick back-fired in the late innings, as the somber crowd looked more to me like they were attending a funeral than a baseball game.
Edinson Volquez had faced the Giants nine times since last beating them in 2008.
Russell Martin, playing with a sore left hamstring, not only got one of the Pirates’ four hits, he also tried to leg out a bunt for a hit, something that emphasized his intestinal fortitude greatly.
The Giants have lost five of seven to the Nationals this season, but one of their victories was memorable for stopping the Nats’ ten-game winning streak back in August.
Jake Peavy will start Friday against Stephen Strassburg.
Aug 7, 2014; Milwaukee, WI, USA; San Francisco Giants pitcher Jake Peavy (43) pitches in the first inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports