SAN FRANCISCO (AP)—The four days after one of the worst starts any pitcher has ever had felt like a month for Madison Bumgarner(notes), who admitted to having a few concerns about how he’d bounce back from a one-out, eight-run debacle.
Consider those questions put to rest.
Bumgarner had an impressive bounce-back outing, striking out a career-high 11 in seven innings to help the San Francisco Giants beat the Cleveland Indians 3-1 on Sunday night to complete a three-game sweep.
“I’m not going to say there wasn’t any doubt,” he said. “There was a little doubt. It was tough to forget about a start like that. I tried to put it behind me the best I could.”
That’s just what Bumgarner (4-9) did, showing no lingering effects from his historically bad outing against Minnesota on Tuesday. He gave up hits to the first eight batters he faced against the Twins and became the first pitcher since 1900 to give up nine hits and record just one out in a game.
Bumgarner was sharp from the start, allowing five hits and one run while overpowering the Indians in the type of performance his teammates expected.
“Obviously that was a fluke that happened last time,” catcher Chris Stewart(notes) said. “That’s one of those things that just happened. I think he got over it pretty quick. As soon as the night was over he got over it. He went out, threw his bullpen session and came in today ready to dominate and he did.”
Stewart hit a two-run double for his first RBIs in more than four years and Aubrey Huff(notes) added an run-scoring single for the Giants, who have won five straight following a season-worst five-game losing streak.
But the story of the night was Bumgarner, who allowed his only run after a questionable call in the sixth. With a runner on first and no outs, Orlando Cabrera(notes) hit a grounder down the third-base line for a double. It appeared as if the ball might have been foul. But with no third-base umpire after plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt left in the second inning after taking a foul ball off his mask, Jerry Layne called it fair from behind the plate.
Asdrubal Cabrera(notes) drove in the run with a groundout before Bumgarner struck out the next two batters to escape the inning without further damage. He struck out the side in the seventh to finish his night.
“He’s a big kid. He has a good head on his shoulders,” reliever Jeremy Affeldt(notes) said. “That was awesome. That was probably bigger than just a good outing for him. I think it was a big part of his maturing process.”
Affeldt struck out five in two perfect innings for his second save.
Fausto Carmona(notes) (4-10) lost for the seventh time in eight decisions, giving up three runs and seven hits in six innings. Carmona has a 8.58 ERA in those eight starts, but this time his problem was more a lack of offense.
Cleveland was outscored 8-4 in the sweep.
“It was a disappointing series,” manager Manny Acta said. “I felt we had the opportunity to win two of the three games at least. Fausto was a lot better. He gave us a chance. We were flat out overmatched at the plate and some of our outs weren’t even productive.”
Bumgarner quickly got off on the right foot, retiring the first two batters and giving up just one hit in a scoreless first. He pitched around a leadoff double in the second as Grady Sizemore(notes) was thrown out by Stewart trying to steal third. Cleveland then put back-to-back singles together to open the fourth before Bumgarner retired the next three batters to escape that jam.
“He had a good cut fastball and was locating his curveball, getting ahead of us with that,” Indians catcher Lou Marson(notes) said. “He has a kind of funky delivery and there were some pretty good shadows out there. No excuse though. We needed to hit better.”
Bumgarner even got some rare offensive support in this game, as the Giants scored more than two runs for him at home for the first time since his major league debut in 2009.
After singles by Cody Ross(notes) and Bill Hall(notes) in the second inning, Stewart went the other way for a two-out double that scored both runners for his first RBIs since driving in a run for Texas against the Yankees on May 8, 2007.
“There have been a lot of situations when I had runners on and haven’t come through,” Stewart said. “That was a nice situation to come in on. Luckily it was enough runs to win the game.”
The Giants had a chance to add on in the fourth when Hall made it to third with no outs. But Stewart grounded out to third and then Bumgarner missed a squeeze sign and swung through a pitch, leading to Hall getting caught in a rundown.
Notes: Giants 3B Pablo Sandoval(notes) left the game after the sixth inning with tightness in his left quadriceps but is expected to play Tuesday in Chicago. … Cleveland RF Shelley Duncan(notes) struck out all four times he batted.