Kid's stuff = Easy win

Bumgarner puts clamps on Texas, puts Giants on the verge of title

November 01, 2010|By Bill Shaikin, Tribune newspapers

ARLINGTON, Texas — These Giants have not known the joy of clinching a postseason series at home, of prancing giddily around the field, of spraying their fans with assorted liquid substances.

They might never know that joy. They would happily pay that price in order to win the World Series on Monday.

The Giants are one victory from a championship. Never have they won a World Series in San Francisco.

But never in their San Francisco history have they led a Series three games to one.

They do now, thanks to a pitcher of legal drinking age for all of three months.

Madison Bumgarner, at 21 the youngest pitcher to start a World Series game since Fernando Valenzuela in 1981, pitched eight shutout innings to lead the Giants to a 4-0 victory over the Rangers on Sunday.

"He's an amazing kid," Giants GM Brian Sabean said. "He's got an innate sense of courage. At this age, he is a genius right now, with what he's doing. He's not really aware of his surroundings."

The only younger pitcher to throw at least eight scoreless in the Series: Hall of Famer Jim Palmer, in shutting out Sandy Koufax and the Dodgers in 1966.

Aubrey Huff, who grew up rooting for the Rangers, wounded his hometown team with a two-run homer. Buster Posey homered, too, and shepherded the Giants' second shutout in three games.

The Giants clinched the National League Division Series in Atlanta. They clinched the NLCS in Philadelphia.

They can clinch the World Series on Monday, in Texas, and have the rotation aligned the way they want. Their Game 5 starter is two-time defending Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum.

The Giants' Game 4 brain trust — Bumgarner and 23-year-old catcher Posey — became the first rookie battery to start a World Series game since 1947.

That rookie catcher was a kid named Yogi Berra.

"We've got some impressive young talent here," Huff said. "Buster Posey behind the dish, (Bumgarner) going on the mound … this kid's fearless. I've said it many, many times — it doesn't seem like he's ever nervous."

Bumgarner, starting for the first time in 11 days, chilled the Rangers on three singles.

In the seventh, Hamilton reached on an error and Nelson Cruz singled, bringing the potential tying run to the plate. But Ian Kinsler struck out.

Bumgarner finished with six strikeouts, including three of Vladimir Guerrero and Brian Wilson pitched a 1-2-3 ninth.

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