Madison Bumgarner

Bumgarner looks sharper, but Giants once again go down quietly at Dodger Stadium

Bumgarner looks sharper, but Giants once again go down quietly at Dodger Stadium

LOS ANGELES — We’ll start with the positive, because the alternative is so stunning that you almost need to build up to it. 

Madison Bumgarner had his pitch count removed in his third start back and responded by throwing 112 pitches, and showing signs of his old self. Bumgarner took the loss in a 3-1 clunker at Dodger Stadium, but all involved felt he took a big step forward in his six innings.

“Each time out I’ve felt better and better,” Bumgarner said. “That’s the only think you can ask for. I don’t know how long (until I’m in midseason form) but I’ll try to get there as fast as I can.”

Catcher Buster Posey said Bumgarner’s fastball was “jumping” more than in his previous two starts.

“He’s only going to get stronger as he goes on,” Posey said. 

Manager Bruce Bochy said Bumgarner is already plenty strong.

“I thought it was a good day for him,” he said. “Everything was crisper. He’s getting real close … [T]onight was real close to Madison and where he’s going to be.”

As for the rest of this one, well the production wasn’t close to enough. Bumgarner gave up a solo homer to Matt Kemp and a two-run shot to Enrique Hernandez and that easily held up. The Giants had no hits through four, wasted a golden opportunity in the seventh, and couldn’t take advantage of a wild Kenley Jansen in the ninth. 

Here’s the stunning negative. In their last 11 games at Dodger Stadium, their run totals are: 1, 2, 2, 2, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 2, 1.

Asked to explain that amazing stretch of futility here, Posey paused for a long moment and then said he had no explanation. Bochy noted that the Dodgers play excellent defense — Posey was robbed of two hits by outfielders Saturday — and pitch well.

“It’s their pitching,” he said. “They have really good pitching. You saw a well-pitched game (tonight) and a guy who has been throwing the ball well yesterday. They’re a team that has really good pitching and really this isn’t a ballpark conducive to scoring lots of runs.”

All that said, going 11 consecutive games in a park without even reaching three runs is amazing, no matter who you are facing. For a while Saturday, it looked like Bumgarner might pull it out anyway. But Hernandez jumped on a hanging curveball in his third at-bat and hit his fourth career homer against Bumgarner. 

The lefty was well aware of the numbers — Hernandez is 15-for-33 off him — and said he has changed his approach in recent matchups. After Hernandez repeatedly pounded his fastball, he saw a steady diet of curveballs. Seven of the eight pitches he saw the first two times up Saturday were curveballs. The eighth curveball was the difference. 

“It’s no secret that I’ve thrown Hernandez a ton of curveballs the last few times and he made the adjustment,” Bumgarner said. “It wasn’t the best spot, either. He for sure made the adjustment. Sometimes you’ve got to tip your cap. That’s the cat and mouse game, the game within the game.”

Bumgarner ejected in second start as Giants drop series opener to Marlins

Bumgarner ejected in second start as Giants drop series opener to Marlins

BOX SCORE

MIAMI -- Madison Bumgarner blew a sixth inning lead and was ejected on the way out of his second start this season as the Miami Marlins rallied past the San Francisco Giants 7-5 on Monday night.

J.T. Realmuto had three hits including his seventh home run of the season and drove in two and Brian Anderson homered, doubled twice, and drove in two runs for the Marlins.

Bumgarner allowed back-to-back hits to begin the sixth with a 4-2 lead. Cameron Maybin hit a sacrifice fly and then Justin Bour walked on four pitches prompting Bumgarner to voice his displeasure to home plate umpire Jeremie Rehak.

The four-time All-Star was able to convince manager Bruce Bochy to stay in the game, but then immediately allowed a game-tying hit by Lewis Brinson ending his outing. On his way to the dugout, Bumgarner again had words for Rehak, who ejected him.

Bumgarner, who missed the first two months of the season with a broken pinkie finger on his left hand, gave up four runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings. He walked one while striking out three, throwing 50 of his 91 pitches for strikes.

Brandon Crawford's sacrifice fly in the seventh gave the Giants a 5-4 lead.

Anderson responded with an RBI double to tie the game at 5.

Realmuto followed with a two-run home run to center field off Sam Dyson (2-1). He also had a single and a double to fall a triple shy of the cycle for the eighth time in his career.

Adam Conley (2-0) tossed a scoreless inning and Kyle Barraclough pitched a flawless ninth for his third save in five chances.

Andrew McCutchen and Evan Longoria each had two hits and drove in a run for the Giants.

Bumgarner cruised through the first three innings without allowing a run or a walk before Anderson led off the fourth with a home run.

Realmuto doubled and Brinson tripled to give the Marlins a 2-1 lead later in the inning.

The Giants bounced back with three runs off Wei-Yen Chen in the fifth for a 4-2 lead. McCutchen tied the game with an RBI double before Chen balked in a run and reliever Brad Ziegler walked Nick Hundley with the bases loaded.

Chen allowed four runs and six hits in 4 1-3 innings.

MULTI-HIT OR BUST

Seven players - four Giants and three Marlins - had multi-hit games while nobody had just one hit.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Giants: RHP Johnny Cueto (left ankle) and RHP Jeff Samardzija (right shoulder) each threw a bullpen session of about 40 pitches before the game. Cueto said he felt good and the plan is for him to have another bullpen session with the hopes of throwing to hitters on Saturday. Samardzija will still have one or two rehab starts before re-joining the team. "Both of them are on their way, that's good news, they felt great today," Bochy said.

Marlins: RHP Dan Straily (chest) took part in his regular routine and still plans to make his next start on Thursday after being hit by a line drive in his last one. "He said he actually forgot about it while he was throwing a pen and he was working on things so he's good to go," manager Don Mattingly said.

UP NEXT

Giants: RHP Chris Stratton (7-3, 4.63 ERA) will start the second game of a four-game series on Tuesday. The Giants are 10-3 in Stratton's starts including winning the last five.

Marlins: RHP Trevor Richards (0-3, 5.02) will be making his seventh start in search for his first Major League win.

Bumgarner solid in return but Giants' win streak ends with close loss to D'Backs

Bumgarner solid in return but Giants' win streak ends with close loss to D'Backs

SAN FRANCISCO — Madison Bumgarner’s return was supposed to nudge the Giants back above .500. Instead, it snapped a five-game winning streak, but the big lefty wasn’t to blame. 

The Giants had no answers for the other lefty starter, Patrick Corbin, wasting six strong innings from Bumgarner in his season debut. The 3-2 loss was the first since last Tuesday, and dropped the Giants back to 2 1/2 games out of first in the tight NL West race. 

The Giants had their chances. They loaded the bases with no outs in the fifth, but Bumgarner, Gorkys Hernandez and Buster Posey struck out. They loaded the bases again in the seventh but Posey flied out. They put two on in the eighth, but Pablo Sandoval grounded out. The tying run got to second in the bottom of the ninth, but Evan Longoria grounded out. 

Here are the rest of the details... 

—- Bumgarner threw 82 pitches before giving way to the bullpen. He gave up two earned, allowing eight hits, walking none, and striking out three. Both runs came in the second, when Ketel Marte and Chris Owings led off with back-to-back doubles. 

—- The fifth inning appeared to be when Bumgarner found his groove. He struck out Corbin on a cutter and threw a fastball up and in to David Peralta that had the outfielder down on his knees. He also waved both arms when he didn’t get an outside strike. Bumgarner caught a break when Paul Goldschmidt’s double skipped into the seats, keeping a runner at third, and he took advantage of it. The next pitch was an inning-ending groundout to short. 

—- There was a new wrinkle on this night. Bumgarner threw a bunch of changeups, adding to an arsenal that is heavy on three pitches most nights. The tracking systems couldn’t agree on how many he threw, but MLB had him at 14 and Baseball Savant said 16. He hadn’t thrown 14 changeups in a game since June 27, 2014. He threw three total in his final three starts last season. 

—- Mark Melancon looks like the guy the Giants thought they were getting. In two appearances since coming off the DL, he has five strikeouts. All have come on a big looping curveball. 

—- The Giants drew 36,925 for Bumgarner’s season debut. A good crowd, a loud crowd…but it has become very difficult for them to sell out AT&T Park like they used to.