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‘Vintage’ Madison Bumgarner appears at perfect time for Giants

“That was vintage Bum,” Bruce Bochy said.

Bum, your thoughts?

“I’m not really a fan of that vintage deal.”

Vintage Bum answer.

Vintage or not, Madison Bumgarner was terrific Sunday, limiting the Diamondbacks to four hits and no walks, letting up one run in seven innings in a 10-4 win at Oracle Park.

He struck out nine, tying him with former rotation-mate Tim Lincecum at 1,704, the second most in San Francisco-era history. He passed Matt Cain on that list his last outing and said he’s meant to “razz” Cain for the leapfrog.

“Probably not as much [with Lincecum] because he did that in like five years,” said Bumgarner, who was more serious when asked about the historical note.

“Pretty incredible. This organization has been around a long time, a lot of great players have come through here. To be up on that list is very special.”

Of course, in this 36-47 season, the question exists whether Bumgarner and Lincecum will remain tied. Bumgarner is fully expected to make his next start, but with each outing, he’s helping his trade value. A free agent at season’s end, Bumgarner has been a different pitcher since his six-run, 3 2/3-inning letdown against the Dodgers on June 20. In his past two starts, he’s struck out 20 in 13 innings while allowing three runs.

When he stymied Colorado last week, he credited using the entire plate, saying he had been focusing on one side too often. He said the discovery has helped.

“It just makes it easier when you’re not throwing to one specific part of the zone,” the 29-year-old said. “That’s what pitching is, moving the ball around, changing speeds. I felt like we did a better job of that the last two games.”

To Bochy, it was the pitch mix that stood out, saying Bumgarner’s changeup returned and “four pitches he had going.”

Bumgarner is defined by his postseason success, always rising up to the competition. According to the manager who’s seen every pitch, this version of Bumgarner can hang with the legend.

“He’s right there,” Bochy said. “When you look at the stuff and the numbers … he’s really pitched well. As we went through April, you saw him getting better. When we hit May, he threw the ball outstanding. What a great start.”


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