Madison Bumgarner gives San Francisco Giants a severe case of deja vu in Game 2 World Series victory


Stop me if this sounds familiar to you.

San Francisco Giants’ Madison Bumgarner reacts after striking out Detroit Tigers’ Omar Infante during the sixth inning of Game 2 of baseball’s World Series Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

The Giants open the World Series by smacking around the American League’s best pitcher who entered the series with three standout postseason performances and a playoff ERA under 1.00.

They follow that up by shutting out an American League lineup that includes the potential league MVP in Game 2.

And Madison Bumgarner throws up nothing but zeros in his first start of the series.

No, Giants fans, this is NOT the 2010 World Series, but it sure feels like it.

Even the Giants acknowledged as much.

“It feels the same, but we know it’s not going to be the same until we win a World Series,” left-hander Jeremy Affeldt said. “They’re not going to roll over.”

And don’t tell Bumgarner this is not the 2010 postseason, because after two sub-par playoff starts, MadBum recaptured his magic on the mound.

Bumgarner silenced the Tigers’ bats with seven shutout innings, allowing just two hits and two walks while striking out eight.

MadBum’s performance coupled with another night of solid defense and just a little bit of luck was enough to propel the Giants to a 2-0 victory in Game 2 of the World Series, and a 2-0 series lead.

About the only thing Bumgarner didn’t do was extend the team’s streak of having a pitcher drive in a run in a fifth consecutive postseason game.

So it leads to the question: What was the difference between this game and Bumgarner’s two previous starts in which he posted an ERA of 11.25?

“I went into the seventh inning instead of getting took out in the third,” Bumgarner said.

Nah, c’mon Madison, get serious.

“The only difference was being able to make pitches,” Bumgarner said. “I hadn’t been able to do that this postseason. And tonight …. Buster caught a great game, defense did great.”

It’s got to be more than that.

“I thought the first inning would be a critical inning for him, for his confidence, also just to see where he was at,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “Really, I mean, what a job he did. He’s worked on some things, and Rags — Dave Righetti, our pitching coach — did a great job getting him back on track. He had great poise out there with a great delivery, and he stayed right on for seven innings.”

So Righetti is some kind of miracle worker then?

Bumgarner made three bullpen sessions on Righetti’s supervision between Game 1 of the NLCS — a 6-4 loss to the Cardinals when MadBum gave up all six runs in less the four innings of work — and Thursday’s Game 2 of the World Series.

They also studied video, finding that MadBum had bad mechanics that was leading to unnecessary stress and fatigue on his arm. After the third session, the Giants decided Bumgarner was ready to return to the rotation. And was he ever.

Game 3 starter Ryan Vogelsong said: “It’s a testament to him. It’s not easy to fix yourself like that and go out there and perform so well. He wasn’t just OK. He was really good.”

Yes, he was.

When this series started, most Giants fans were hoping the Giants could split the first games with the Tigers, given that Barry Zito and Bumgarner were set to start. Then the plan was to get the series back to San Francisco for Games 6 and 7, and hope the Giants’ run of postseason magic could continue.

Now they head to Detroit with a 2-0 series lead and their two best pitchers this postseason — Ryan Vogelsong and Matt Cain — taking the mound there.

And thoughts now turn to returning to San Francisco simply to have another parade.

But if anyone knows not to get ahead of themselves, it’s these Giants.

“You can’t count Detroit out,” Sergio Romo said. “Look at what we were able to do to get here.”


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