SAN JOSE -- Madison Bumgarner got close, but he did not strike out the Beer Batter on Monday night, thus failing to lock up discounted brews for a sellout crowd. This time, that was the only blemish.
Bumgarner was his old self on Monday night, striking out eight Modesto Nuts and allowing just two hits in six innings. He said he would wait for final word from management, but there's no doubt: Bumgarner's next start will come Saturday in San Diego.
"I'm going to plan on that," he said.
He has been all along. When Bumgarner was finally cleared to throw after a shocking dirt bike accident, he circled a date on the calendar: July 15. Under the watchful eyes of Dave Groeschner, Anthony Reyes, Eric Ortega and Tony Reali, he meticulously worked his way back. His first stint on the disabled list was without hiccups. That doesn't mean he enjoyed it.
"It sucks," Bumgarner said. "But I put myself in this spot. I wish I wouldn't have. I tried to make the best of it."
For weeks, Bumgarner focused only on pitch count. On Monday he pretended he was pitching the final game of the spring. He locked in for his second opening day.
As he did the last time out, when he allowed nine runs, Bumgarner got off to a quick start, allowing just an unearned run through three. Bumgarner's first start back in San Jose ended with an eight-run outburst in the fourth. This time, he wrapped three strikeouts around a fourth-inning single.
Bumgarner cruised to the tape, finishing with 86 pitches, the exact range the Giants had hoped for. He got a standing ovation as he walked off the field and he stopped to tip his cap.
Bumgarner was appreciative of the support, and he smiled when asked about the legendary Beer Batter, a staple of a ballpark he hopes to never again pitch in.
"I am very sorry to San Jose," he said. "Both times I tried very hard (to strike him out). I couldn't do it."