Pickup 6: Efficiency allows Bumgarner to stretch

Giants ace blanks Angels on 1 hit, but knows arm strength outweighs results

Pickup 6: Efficiency allows Bumgarner to stretch

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Madison Bumgarner's pitching line dazzled everybody except himself.

San Francisco's Opening Day starter worked six innings, an unusually high total for this juncture of Spring Training, in Wednesday's 7-4 Cactus League victory over the Los Angeles Angels. Bumgarner allowed one hit, Nolan Fontana's third-inning single. Bumgarner's efficiency with his pitches -- he threw approximately 70 -- enabled him to record quick outs, such as the popup he induced from Yunel Escobar on the game's first delivery. This, in turn, kept Bumgarner in the game longer.

"You look at a game like today's and you think he's ready," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "But he needs a couple of more outings."

Bumgarner will require those performances to increase his pitch limit past 100, the typical starter's benchmark.

"Really, all it comes down to is your arm being in shape to throw 100-plus pitches and making sure everything's starting to get this sharp," said Bumgarner, who owns a 2.81 ERA in five Cactus League appearances. "The results here don't matter one way or another. As long as we can have our guys ready and feeling good, that's all you can ask for.

"But it is a plus to be throwing well at this time of year. It definitely don't hurt."

Nevertheless, Bumgarner remained aware that he lasted four innings in his previous start last Friday against Cleveland. The two-inning increase in activity sufficed.

"You probably don't really want to have a bigger jump than that," he said.

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.