The team in orange and black was scary good on Halloween night.
On a holiday meant for kids, it was the youngest player on either roster that was the biggest star. Twenty-one year old Madison Bumgarner pitched eight shutout innings in leading the San Francisco Giants to a 4-0 victory over the Texas Rangers and within one game of the World Series title.
The rookie lefthander looked unflappable all game while only allowing three hits and striking out six.
“I try to tell myself all the time just to relax, jus take deep breaths and control the breathing,” Bumgarner said. “That helps me relax and stay calm, and just try to act like it’s not a big deal. Obviously it is, it’s the World Series, but I just try to go out there and relax and it’s worked out.”
San Francisco took the lead in the top of the third on Texas native Aubrey Huff’s mammoth two-run homer down the right field line off Rangers starter Tommy Hunter. It was all the support Bumgarner would need, as he threw first-pitch strikes throughout the game as well as benefiting from stellar defense.
Edgar Renteria, who had three hits on the night, would score on a two-out RBI double by Andres Torres in the top of the seventh to make it 3-0 San Francisco. Torres also had three hits in the game.
The Rangers looked like they might have a scoring threat after a Juan Uribe error with one out in the bottom of the seventh. Bumgarner struck out Vladimir Guerrero before Nelson Cruz singled to bring the tying run to the plate with two outs. The rookie lefty was up to the task, however, as he got Ian Kinsler to fly out to end the only Texas rally of the night.
The Rangers led Major League Baseball in batting average this year, and they were only shut out once at home during the regular season. Bumgarner’s performance doubled that number, and it was the second time Texas has been shut out in four World Series games.
"It's certainly been pitching as advertised," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "They've got good stuff. They've got velocity. They can spin the baseball. They can change speeds and they keep their defense engaged."
The Giants added an insurance run in the eighth when rookie catcher Buster Posey hit his first postseason home run off sidearm reliever Darren O’Day to make it 4-0. San Francisco closer Brian Wilson tossed a perfect ninth to give the Giants a commanding 3-1 lead in the Fall Classic.
“We’ve got a big challenge tomorrow in Cliff Lee,” Huff said. “You know he’s going to come out with his real good stuff. We got him last game, but you know he’s going to want to come out and really want to get us.”
Texas will send ace Cliff Lee to the mound in Game 5 to salvage their postseason hopes. He suffered his first-ever Playoff loss in Game 1 after giving up six earned runs in just 4.2 innings. Lee will be opposed by two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum, who will try to pitch the Giants franchise to their first World Series title since 1954.