If this was Madison Bumgarner’s second-to-last start at Oracle Park, he is going out as he lived:
In a simmering war with umpires.
But when the feud between Bumgarner and home-plate umpire CB Bucknor was over, there was little to distract from the game. And when the entertainment of Bumgarner facing off with both rookie Marlins and a veteran umpire concluded, it got ugly.
Bumgarner was the attraction and Shaun Anderson (for a change) and the Giants’ offense the unattraction in a 4-2 loss to the Marlins on Saturday.
The Giants have now scored 10 runs in four games, their offense going silent yet again at home. They engineered eight hits and wasted most, going 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position. They put the go-ahead run at the plate in the ninth, but call-ups Cristhian Adames and Mike Gerber struck out and bounced out, respectively.
A healthy crowd of 38,663 watched Bumgarner steal the show, the to-be free agent, likely to make one more start in San Francisco to close out the year, providing more memories from a pitcher nearly as known for his bickering as his greatness.
To be sure, Bumgarner was brilliant for seven, four-hit innings, but his feud with Bucknor was even more fun.
CB Buckner is mad at Bumgarner somehow, even though Buckner called a pitch a ball that was arguably right down the middle. @MLB time to get an auto strike zone or better umps. Harsh but true. #SFGiants pic.twitter.com/DoGrBayKVV
— Hardeep Dhillon (@Hardeepd2) September 15, 2019
The first snipes were fired in the third, when Bumgarner stared down Bucknor and began barking after a ball that sure looked like a strike. Bucknor removed his mask and shouted right back at the big lefty, who slowly paced around the mound and gave the ump his back.
As luck would have it, Bumgarner was the No. 2 hitter in the bottom of the frame, and the two kept jawing. After one questionable strike – Statcast marked it as a strike, too – Bumgarner threw up a hand, the theater far more entertaining than a game between an also-ran and a tanking team.
But the faceoff drama eventually had to end – after Bumgarner allowed a two-run bomb to Jorge Alfaro, Statcast marking it a 473-foot moon shot to left in the seventh to dig the Giants a hole they would escape, but only momentarily.
In the bottom of the seventh, Bruce Bochy pulled off some magic, just not enough.
Brandon Crawford led off with a single before Mauricio Dubon doubled. Chris Shaw was in the on-deck circle, but Bochy pulled him back as lefty Brian Moran was announced, and in came Donovan Solano instead.
Smooth move. Solano tripled, tying the score. Bochy’s next maneuver didn’t work as well, as Gerber, pinch-hitting for a possibly hurting Mike Yastrzemski, bounced out without scoring Solano from third. Brandon Belt then flew out, as the Marlins escaped the inning tied, 2-2.
The Giants re-dug their two-run hole again in the eighth, when Anderson entered with a runner on second and opened the floodgates. Miguel Rojas doubled in the go-ahead run, before Lewis Brinson singled in another, an off night on Anderson’s first attempt at going back-to-back.
The Giants’ scariest moment came in the third, when Yastrzemski got hit in the foot – after fouling a pitch off his other foot earlier in the at-bat – and sprawled out on the ground. It took a few minutes of his willing his foot back to relative health, and he remained in the game until being pinch-hit for in the seventh.
A Yastrzemski injury that keeps him sidelined would be unfortunately timed, with the Giants visiting Boston – a legendary place for the Yastrzemski family – beginning Tuesday.