KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Madison Bumgarner said Tuesday night that he would be able to throw “maybe 200” pitches in Game 7 of the World Series on Wednesday. It’s quite possible that he could have, but he only needed 68 to bring home the Giants’ third World Series title in five years.
Bumgarner, on two days’ rest after throwing a four-hit shutout in Game 5, dominated the Royals in relief, throwing five scoreless innings after starter Tim Hudson got an early hook and Jeremy Affeldt bridged the gap. The Giants didn’t manage much in the way of offense, getting two sacrifice flies in the second inning and a Michael Morse RBI single in the fourth, but it proved to be enough.
After Omar Infante singled to lead off the fifth inning against Bumgarner, Alcides Escobar bunted him over to second. That was the first of 14 straight outs recorded by Bumgarner, who finished the postseason with an incredible 1.03 ERA in 52 2/3 innings, and allowed only one run in 21 innings in the World Series. Naturally, he was voted World Series MVP .
Alex Gordon created some late drama with a two-out single in the ninth inning that center fielder Gregor Blanco turned into a virtual triple with a two-base error. Bumgarner responded by getting Salvador Perez to pop out to Pablo Sandoval in front of the third base dugout. Bumgarner was the winning pitcher in two of the Giants' four victories, and got the save in the clincher, as the win was awarded to Affeldt.
The Royals, who scored 10 runs in Game 6 to force the deciding game, got their runs in the second inning on a Gordon RBI double and a sacrifice fly by Infante.
Hudson, the oldest Game 7 starter in World Series history at 39, got only five outs before Bruce Bochy tabbed Affeldt to get out of the second. The 35-year-old former Royals left-hander got Nori Aoki to bounce into a forceout, then worked through the third and fourth innings without giving up a run.
While Affeldt was busy mowing down his old team, the Giants reclaimed the lead, starting the fourth inning with back-to-back singles by their two best hitters in the series, Sandoval and Hunter Pence, off starter Jeremy Guthrie. Both had scored in the second inning, and after Brandon Belt flied out and Ned Yost went to the bullpen for Kelvin Herrera, Sandoval carried home the go-ahead run on Morse’s single.
Morse’s second RBI of the night marked the first time that a National League designated hitter ever made such an impact in a Game 7. Aubrey Huff was the last Senior Circuit DH with two RBI in a World Series game, hitting a two-run homer for the Giants in their 4-0 win over the Rangers in Game 4 in 2010.
Sandoval’s double in the eighth inning made him 3-for-3 and gave him the major league record for hits in a single postseason, with 26.
Home teams had won nine straight Game 7s in the World Series since the Pirates' victory in Baltimore in 1979. The 1982 Cardinals, 1985 Royals, 1986 Mets, 1987 Twins, 1991 Twins, 1997 Marlins, 2001 Diamondbacks, 2002 Angels, and 2011 Cardinals comprised that 35-year run of home dominance.
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Home teams are now 1-1 in World Series Game 7s where the site was determined by the winner of the All-Star Game rather than yearly alternation.
Teams in winner-take-all World Series games are now 4-2 when their starting pitcher fails to make it through two innings. Hudson’s outing was the first time that happened since 1960, when Bob Turley lasted only one frame for the Yankees, who lost in Pittsburgh on Bill Mazeroski’s homer in the ninth.
Wednesday night was the second time in World Series history that neither Game 7 starter made it through four innings, joining the Yankees’ victory over the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.