The San Francisco Giants edged the Kansas City Royals by a score of 3-2 to bring home the World Series title. It’s the third time in five years that the Giants have hoisted the trophy. Pitching on two days rest, Giants ace Madison Bumgarner worked five scoreless innings in relief to help the Giants hold on.
The Giants got out to an early lead in the second inning. Pablo Sandoval was hit by a pitch to open the inning, and Hunter Pence and Brandon Belt followed with singles. Michael Morse and Brandon Crawford hit sacrifice flies to give the Giants a 2-0 lead against Jeremy Guthrie.
However, the Royals would get those runs right back in the bottom half of the inning. Alex Gordon doubled to drive home Billy Butler, who had led off with a single. Omar Infante hit a sacrifice fly later in the inning. Alcides Escobar singled, which brought on Jeremy Affeldt, who kept the score at 2-2 by getting Nori Aoki to ground out.
Bumgarner was untouchable. He surrendered a single to Infante to lead off the 5th, and a bunt by Escobar moved him into scoring position but the Giants ace managed to strand him. From there he would retire 14 batters in a row. With two outs in the bottom of the 9th Gordon knocked a single to left, and when Gregor Blanco and Juan Perez kicked the ball around in the outfield he made it to third. For a moment it looked like there might be a play at the plate, but Gordon held at third.
Bumgarner proceeded to retire catcher Salvador Perez on a popout to third in foul territory. He worked Perez almost exclusively up in the zone, and his last fastball clocked in at 93 miles per hour. With his outing Bumgarner surpassed Curt Schilling‘s record for most innings thrown in a postseason, which was set in 2001.
Overall Bumgarner threw 52.2 innings, allowing just seven runs, six of which were earned. He fanned 45 batters while issuing just six walks. Opponents managed a miserable .153/.188/.219 line against the Giants ace. In his World Series career, he’s allowed just a lone run in 36 innings. It goes without saying that he was named the Series MVP.
Bumgarner’s fantastic performance overshadowed a valiant effort by the Royals bullpen. Herrera threw 2.2 innings with four strikeouts. Wade Davis followed with two shutout innings and three strikeouts, and Greg Holland threw a 1-2-3 9th with a couple of punchouts. In the postseason these three combined to work 40.1 innings. They allowed only six runs, and struck out 51 batters.
The Royals bullpen was dominant, but baseball fans will remember the 2014 postseason for Bumgarner’s heroic performance.