Pitching continues to be the driving force behind the San Francisco Giants, so it's no surprise Madison Bumgarner will be a part of that for the long haul.
Fresh off signing a contract that will keep him in San Francisco for the next five years, Bumgarner looks to extend his winning streak at AT&T Park to six games when the Giants face the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday night.
San Francisco (4-6) isn't even two years removed from winning the World Series behind the dazzling pitching of Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain, and Bumgarner emerged as a strong member of the rotation in the playoffs.
Lincecum, a two-time NL Cy Young Award winner, agreed to a $40.5 million, two-year contract in January, and Cain signed a $127.5 million, six-year contract - the largest deal for a right-handed pitcher in baseball history - earlier this month.
The 22-year-old Bumgarner (1-1, 3.97 ERA) joined them in the long-term plans Monday, inking a $35.56 million contract through the 2017 season.
"We've made no secret of our strategy. Our strategy is to lock up as many homegrown players as we can," President and CEO Larry Baer said. "It doesn't mean we're going to be able to lock up every homegrown player."
For Bumgarner, getting the deal done is a relief.
"Now, I can go out there and just pitch," he said. "It kind of took the weight off my shoulders."
Bumgarner didn't appear distracted Thursday, when he yielded one run and four hits in 7 1-3 innings of a 4-2 win at Colorado. That was an improvement from his season debut, during which he gave up four runs and two homers in four innings of a loss at Arizona on April 7.
He's 0-1 with a 3.07 ERA in three games - two starts - against the Phillies. However, two of those appearances came in wins during the 2010 NL championship series, including the clinching victory in Game 6.
The Giants could use another strong effort from Bumgarner after Lincecum gave up four first-inning runs and five through six of a 5-2 loss to Philadelphia on Monday in the opener of this three-game set.
Buster Posey is giving San Francisco some punch at the plate after getting three hits in the series opener. The catcher has a .321 average through eight games, and is hitting .333 in 10 career meetings with the Phillies, including the NLCS.
He's 3 for 5 with a double off Joe Blanton, Tuesday's scheduled starter.
Blanton (1-1, 2.35) takes the mound looking to build on his first victory since elbow problems limited him to 11 games last year.
He seemed to put those injury concerns behind him in impressive fashion Thursday, yielding one run and three hits in seven innings of a 3-1 win over Miami. His season debut came in relief, as he allowed a walkoff single in a 2-1, 10-inning loss at Pittsburgh on April 7.
"It's fun just to be back out there and not have anything weighing on my mind," Blanton said. "By the end of spring, I had a feeling my stuff was pretty good. I had a lot of positives coming out of spring."
Blanton will now face the Giants for the first time since allowing three runs in 4 2-3 innings while not getting a decision opposite Bumgarner in a loss in Game 4 of the 2010 NLCS at AT&T Park.
He's 0-1 with a 4.03 ERA in four career visits to San Francisco.
Hunter Pence had two hits and one RBI in each of the last two games, giving him a .333 average on the season. The right fielder is hitting .394 with three homers and seven RBIs in his last eight visits to AT&T Park.