ST. LOUIS (Reuters) - The road warriors of the San Francisco Giants, led by their ace left-hander Madison Bumgarner, beat the St. Louis Cardinals 3-0 to claim the opening game in the National League Championship Series on Saturday.
Bumgarner pitched seven and two-thirds innings, giving up four hits and striking out seven, and got all the support he needed when the Giants scored two runs in the second and another in the third off the Cardinals’ top starter, Adam Wainwright.
It was the Giants’ seventh consecutive postseason road win and Bumgarner put his name in the record books by extending his scoreless playoff road streak to 26 and two-thirds innings, overtaking a 90-year-old mark of 23 innings set by New York Giants hurler Art Nehf in 1924.
Sergio Romo finished up the eighth and Santiago Casilla
retired the Cardinals in order in the ninth to claim the save.
“He executed all night against a tough lineup,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of Bumgarner. “What a great job he did. This guy is one of the best left-handers in the game. He got us off to a great start tonight with his effort.”
Bumgarner, 25, had no explanation for his road dominance.
“I think it just happened to work out that way,” he said. “I’ve just been lucky enough to have the ball bounce my way on the road.”
Some funny bounces and uncharacteristic mistakes worked against the defending NL champion Cardinals in a battle between two teams that have alternated trips to the World Series for the last four years.
An error by St. Louis third baseman Matt Carpenter allowed an unearned run to score in the second inning, and a potential double play ball that was mishandled by second baseman Kolten Wang in the third inning led to another run.
Pablo Sandoval went 3-for-4 and scored a run, while Brandon Belt and Travis Ishikawa contributed RBI-singles.
”They capitalized,“ said St. Louis manager Mike Matheny. ”We knew that going in, that it was going to be that kind of game, it’s probably going to be that kind of series.
“You have two teams that figure out ways to score runs, that have to manufacture and capitalize on the other team’s mistakes.”
The Cardinals had their best chance in the seventh inning -- the inning they thrived in against the Dodgers in their Division Series triumph, scoring 15 runs.
One-out singles by Yadier Molina and John Jay put men on first and second. Wang bounced a grounder wide of first and Bumgarner raced over and put a rough tag on Wang after taking a toss from first baseman Belt.
With men on second and third and two outs, Bumgarner appeared to have balked, which would have scored a run, but it was not called and he proceeded to strike out pinch-hitter Tony Cruz to end the threat.
Game Two of the best-of-seven series to determine the National League’s representative in the Fall Classic will be in St. Louis on Sunday.
Writing by Larry Fine; Editing by Nick Mulvenney