SAN FRANCISCO — After spending the final two-plus months recovering from a damaged pinkie in his left hand, Madison Bumgarner is clearly nonetheless attempting to get his arm again to peak kind.
The identical goes for his hitting stroke.
The San Francisco Giants ace navigated by a good quantity of site visitors in a strong season debut Tuesday night time whereas getting outpitched by fellow left-hander Patrick Corbin, who earned the victory because the Arizona Diamondbacks prevailed, Three-2.
What chafed at Bumgarner wasn’t a lot the eight hits and two runs he allowed in six innings, or the spotty early command that ultimately obtained higher. Rather, it was a fifth-inning strikeout with the bases loaded that gnawed at one of the majors’ prime hitting pitchers, as a result of it represented a wasted alternative for the Giants to show the sport round.
San Francisco put only one runner on base off Corbin within the first 4 innings however scored on back-to-back doubles to open the fifth earlier than loading the bases with no outs. That’s when Corbin turned to his devilish slider, which he used to strike out Bumgarner, Gorkys Hernandez and Buster Posey to quell the menace and maintain the Diamondbacks forward 2-1.
They by no means trailed in ending the Giants’ five-game successful streak and preserving their one-game lead within the NL West.
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“You simply gotta discover a option to get a man in, bases loaded and no outs,’’ stated Bumgarner, who fouled off a hittable 2-Zero fastball. “There’s no excuse for it, pitcher or not. Or at the least a greater alternative than hanging out.’’
That identical competitiveness that made Bumgarner rue the squandered likelihood obtained him by his first start of the season with out his finest stuff, and it’s a top quality the Giants plan to lean on now that they’ve their workers ace again.
Despite lacking not simply Bumgarner but additionally No. 2 and No. Three starters Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija for prolonged stretches, the Giants entered Tuesday at 30-30, simply 1½ video games again of Arizona within the underwhelming division.
The AT&T crowd of 36,925 rose in pleasure and anticipation as Bumgarner took the mound to the acquainted strains of the Marshall Tucker Band’s Fire on the Mountain for the first time since mid-September, bringing a way of optimism for a membership that tied for the large leagues’ worst document final season.
“You get your man again, it’s a carry for everyone, the rotation, the membership,’’ supervisor Bruce Bochy stated. “It’s good to have him again. He heard the group, he was excited to be again. He’s solely going to get stronger, construct extra energy and stamina. It’s nonetheless early right here. That’s his third start.’’
And the first two, lasting Three 2/Three and four 2/Three innings, have been rehab assignments within the minors. So whereas the remaining of the league is in midseason kind, Bumgarner is basically making his manner by accelerated spring coaching.
It’s no shock, then, that Bumgarner was hardly the imposing determine who commandeered the 2014 postseason because the Giants gained their third World Series in 5 years. His fastball didn’t prime 91 mph and his breaking pitches lacked chunk early on. He didn’t get the first of his three strikeouts till the fifth inning. He elicited 10 swings and misses in 82 pitches, and solely twice did he go three-up and three-down.
But what Bumgarner lacked in stuff he made up for in resourcefulness, discovering success along with his changeup and stranding six baserunners whereas escaping unscathed out of bother within the third and fifth innings. RBI hits by Chris Owings and Kristopher Negron within the second accounted for the scoring towards the large lefty.
It wasn’t a pitching efficiency worthy of a rustic track, so no want to achieve out to Marshall Tucker and firm, nevertheless it made for a gradual first step.
“As far because the pitching goes, I’d appreciated to have performed higher,’’ Bumgarner stated, “however for the first time on the market I really feel fairly good about it.’’
Now time to work on his swing.
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Jorge Ortiz on Twitter @jorgelortiz.