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Bumgarner strong until rocky fifth frame

Bumgarner strong until rocky fifth frame

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Madison Bumgarner's second postseason outing didn't go as well as his first, but the Giants left-hander still put his team in a position to win.

In the end, that's all that matters in October, and the Giants did just that Wednesday night at AT&T Park, pulling out a 6-5, walk-off win in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series to move one win away from the World Series.

Although Bumgarner didn't earn the win, the 21-year-old lefty did play a key role in getting the Giants to this position, throwing 4 2/3 innings of three-run ball.

"I felt pretty good," Bumgarner said. "My stuff was there, I just had a hard time controlling it. I was a little erratic, but it worked out."


Bumgarner began the game strong, striking out five Phillies his first time through the order and allowing only one ball out of the infield in the first three innings. He got into a bit of a jam in the fourth, putting two on with one out, but was able to get Jayson Werth to fly out and caught Jimmy Rollins looking to end the threat.

The fifth inning got the best of Bumgarner, however, as he allowed back-to-back singles to open the frame. After the runners moved up on a sacrifice bunt, Shane Victorino singled home one run, but a strong throw by Giants center fielder Aaron Rowand nabbed Carlos Ruiz at home for the second out.

Unfortunately, Bumgarner was unable to feed off the momentum from Rowand's throw, as Chase Utley singled to end Bumgarner's day. Giants reliever Santiago Casilla came in and yielded a two-run double to Placido Polanco.

"I thought he was throwing the ball well," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "He wasn't as sharp with his command and gave up four pretty good line drives there and he wasn't quite getting it where he wanted, so that's why I went out and got him.

"The kid was throwing well to that point and we started to get the ball up and he's done a great job for us. His pitches were getting up there a little bit."

Bumgarner agreed with Bochy's assessment, also adding that postseason nerves weren't a factor.

"I felt like it was just another game," Bumgarner said. "It was just one of those where you didn't have your stuff there quite like you normally do."

Despite not earning the win or pitching especially well, Bumgarner still was able to put his name in the record books. At 21 years and 80 days, he became fourth-youngest pitcher to start an LCS game and was the youngest to do so since Bret Saberhagen (20 years, 175 days) pitched in Game 2 of the 1984 American League Championship Series.

Bumgarner's NLCS outing followed his NL Division Series start in which he allowed two runs in six innings in his postseason debut against Atlanta, following a regular season in which he went 7-6 with a 3.00 ERA in 111 innings. Among left-handers to throw at least 100 innings in their age-20 season, Bumgarner's 136 ERA-plus was the fourth-best since 1901.

Those numbers, as well as Bumgarner's competitiveness and work ethic, shows a lot about not only what his future could hold, but also what he's capable of now.

"He was pitching well and the thing is, he's 21 years old," Giants reliever Sergio Romo said. "He's a young guy and he goes in there and, being able to compete at this level, it's really impressive to see what he's doing."

Cash Kruth is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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