San Francisco, CA – One mistake proved costly, instead of popping champagne bottles the Giants have redirected their focus for tomorrow’s game. The Nationals forced a game four after Madison Bumgarner’s lapse in judgement allowed three runs in the seventh breaking a scoreless tie through six innings. Thus, San Francisco lost 4-1 in game three of the National League Division Series.
“I thought I might’ve had a shot,” said Bumgarner. “Regardless, of whether to get him out or not, I felt like we had a chance to get [Wilson] Ramos at first. But, I can’t throw the ball away right there.”
“No, to be honest I was hoping we would get an out there,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “He tried to do a little too much there on the bunt. You know, you take the out. He tried to rush it. He threw it away. He threw it away well, too.”
There’s no question, Bumgarner is the best pitcher on the roster. He’s been simply amazing throughout the season and in the playoffs. Bumgarner shutout the Pittsburg Pirates in the Wild Card game and got off to a great start blanking Washington through six frames allowing four hits.
Unfortunately, Bumgarner’s error at third base was the spark the Nationals needed. It was a pitchers duel through six until Bumgarner gave up a single to Ian Desmond to leadoff the seventh. Bryce Harper followed with a walk putting two on with no outs. Ramos bunted right to Bumgarner who opted to throw for the out at third but over threw Pablo Sandoval.
“I thought the way the ball jumped off his bat we might have a shot for the double play but Desmond had a good jump on it,” said catcher Buster Posey. “And we probably should’ve taken the out at first.”
While the ball rolled past Sandoval toward left field, Desmond and Harper scored.
Ramos advanced to second on the play and Asdrubal Cabrera’s RBI single to left field brought in another run making it a 3-0 game. The runs scored snapped Bumgarner’s postseason scoreless streak at 22. Only Christy Mathewson had a longer postseason scoreless streak at 28.0 innings from Oct 9, 1905 to Oct 14, 1911.
“I screwed it up for us and we have to come out tomorrow ready to play,” Bumgarner said. “I know we will, I’m not worried about it. Its unfortunate that we handed it to them like that.”
Doug Fister was outstanding on the mound, San Francisco had yet to score a run and the closest they came was in the second when he loaded the bases. Sandoval leadoff with a single and Brandon Belt was issued a free pass. Fister then walked Travis Ishikawa loading them up before Bumgarner came to the plate and struck out to end the threat.
Sandoval extended his postseason hitting streak to 14 games (a Giants franchise record). Major League’s record is 17 consecutive postseason games, shared by Hank Bauer (1956-58), Derek Jeter (1998-99) and Manny Ramirez (2003-04). The National League record is held by former Giants outfielder Marquis Grissom, who had a 15-game streak with the Braves from 1995-96.
Harper’s ninth inning solo homer was the insurance run Washington needed to seal their victory. San Francisco tried to rally when Sandoval leadoff the frame with a single followed by Hunter Pence’s double putting two on at third and second with no outs. But Brandon Belt struck out and Brandon Crawford’s sacrifice fly was the only run the Giants could muster before Ishikawa grounded out to end the game.
“Fister was outstanding,” said Pence. “We didn’t score enough runs so you have to tip your cap to how well he pitched. He’s got a lot of real good movement and location. It’s a lot of deception especially with his fastball, it’s really good.”
Fister threw seven shutout innings, allowed four hits and struck out three batters. His last seven postseason starts have all been quality outings, the longest such streak in the postseason by an active pitcher (CC Sabathia, Cole Hamels, and Josh Beckett all have six). The only jam he got into was in the second.
“I had to make adjustments after the first couple of innings,” Fister said. “I was a little, I guess you could say, strong as far as trying to overthrow it. I was getting away from my plan a little bit and getting the ball up in the zone. Lucky for me I had great defenders that sacrificed themselves to make great plays.”