KANSAS CITY Missouri (Reuters) - Madison Bumgarner had his fun, while the Royals vowed to bounce back after the San Francisco Giants brought Kansas City’s perfect postseason to an emphatic end with a 7-1 win in Tuesday’s World Series opener.
Giants ace Bumgarner delivered a dominating seven innings of work and Hunter Pence slammed a two-run homer in the first inning that pushed the Royals into an early hole they were unable to claw out of at their Kauffman Stadium home.
“(Bumgarner) was on top of his game,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy told reporters. “He had his fastball going but his secondary pitches were good too.”
With the Royals back in the Fall Classic for the first time in 29 years, fans arrived early to tailgate and barbeque, and filled the stadium ready to party and watch their team add to an unbeaten 8-0 playoff run.
But the Giants, bidding for a third title in five years, played party poopers snapping an 11-game Royals postseason win streak that stretched back to their 1985 World Series triumph.
”It would have been nice to go 12-0,“ said Royals veteran Alex Gordon about sweeping through to a World Series title. ”I mean that would have been pretty cool, but it’s not bad to have a major league record of 8-0.
“We’ll be satisfied with that and move on and start a new streak.”
Game Two of the best-of-seven is on Wednesday in Kansas City.
Making his first start since the American League Championship Series opener on Oct. 10, rusty Royals righty James Shield could not find his rhythm and labored through three-plus innings in which he was pounded for five runs on seven hits.
“I don’t think the layoff had anything to do with the ball game tonight,” said Royals manager Ned Yost. “I think what had a lot to do with the game tonight was Madison Bumgarner.”
Bumgarner, the MVP of the National League Championship Series, was sensational.
The big lefty surrendered just one run on three hits, striking out five and walking one.
The Giants struck quickly against Shields with five hits in the opening frame, including a two-run shot from Pence and an RBI-double from Pablo Sandoval to jump in front 3-0 and quiet the crowd of 40,000.
The Royals had the stadium rocking again in the third, but Bumgarner worked his way out of a jam after an error by shortstop Brandon Crawford and a double by Mike Moustakas put runners on second and third with none out.
“That is one of my favorite things to be able to do in baseball, to work through a situation like that,” said Bumgarner.
The 25-year-old struck out Alicdes Escobar and contact hitter Nori Aoki and then got Eric Hosmer to ground out to snuff the threat without a run.
“My team mates picked me up way more often than I get a chance to pick them up,” he said about Crawford’s error. “Those strikeout situations, we were going for them and trying to keep them off the board. That’s nice.”
Pence led off the fourth with a double and scored on a line drive single to center from Michael Morse that chased Shields from the game.
Reliever Danny Duffy issued a bases loaded walk to Gregor Blanco to push across another Giants run to make it 5-0.
The Giants padded the lead in the seventh with Joe Panik and Sandoval driving in runs before Kansas City finally got on the scoreboard off Bumgarner in the bottom of the inning.
Salvador Perez homered over the wall in left, the solo shot ending Bumgarner’s postseason record of 32 and two-thirds scoreless innings pitched on the road.
“Tonight, that was the last thing on my mind,” Bumgarner said about the streak. “We’re up 7-0, so I‘m just trying to compete and go after guys and be aggressive.”
Additional reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; editing by Sudipto Ganguly