By Alex Pavlovic, San Jose Mercury News –
SAN FRANCISCO — Madison Bumgarner made his big league debut and won his first game at the age of 20. At 21, the talented left-hander threw eight shutout innings in a World Series game and picked up a ring.
Still just 22, Bumgarner is running out of items on his professional bucket list, but one elusive goal remains. Bumgarner was brilliant Friday night in a 4-3 win over the Chicago Cubs but again fell short of securing first career complete game.
He struck out 11 but was pulled for closer Santiago Casilla when the first two Cubs singled in the ninth inning at AT&T Park. Alfonso Soriano promptly cranked a three-run homer to left, and the Cubs put two more runners on before Javier Lopez entered for Casilla, who appeared to hurt himself while fielding a one-out infield single.
Lopez retired Steve Clevenger and David DeJesus to get his first save of the season. He also clinched the sixth win for Bumgarner, who lowered his ERA to 3.04 and has struck out 28 in his last three starts.
Bumgarner entered the night with a 17-0 record when given four or more runs of support, and the Giants offense hit that mark early.
Ryan Theriot’s double brought Gregor Blanco home in the top of the first and Theriot scored on a sacrifice fly by Buster Posey.
Theriot, who had a season high three hits, led off the third inning with a single and scored on Melky Cabrera’s triple. Posey brought Cabrera home with a single.
—In an effort to speed up the rehab process the Giants will take an unusual path with third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who has been on the disabled list since May 3 with a fractured left hamate.
Sandoval could join the Class-A San Jose Giants as early as this weekend, manager Bruce Bochy said, to continue getting his left-handed swing ready for major league pitching. Sandoval, a switch-hitter, has not taken batting practice right-handed yet, but Bochy said the Giants likely will call him up before he is ready to hit from both sides. Sandoval would play only left-handed until he is ready to return to switch-hitting.
“We’ll see how he’s doing,” Bochy said. “From the right side it may take a little longer, but if necessary we could bring him up early, even if he’s not quite ready.
“This would help speed things up. We have a pretty good idea of how long this is going to take because of last (year’s surgery).”
Sandoval had his right hamate bone removed last season and missed 40 games. He had the same surgery on his left wrist May 4 and missed his 28th game Friday. Bochy said Sandoval will need four or five games with the San Jose Giants, who begin a three-game series at the Stockton Ports on Saturday.
If all goes according to the plan, which has been approved by team doctors, Sandoval could rejoin the big league club as early as June 8, the opener of a three-game series with the Texas Rangers.
Sandoval was hitting .316 with five homers and 15 RBIs when he got hurt.
—Right-hander Brad Penny could join Triple-A Fresno this weekend and see game action for the first time since signing with the Giants on May 12. Penny was signed as a candidate to join the bullpen and has been getting his arm in shape at the Giants’ extended spring training facility in Scottsdale, Ariz.
—Sergio Romo was available Friday night after missing three games with a slight dislocation of his right kneecap. Romo threw a bullpen session Friday afternoon and passed all the fielding tests laid out for him by the coaching staff.
—With a single in the third inning, Angel Pagan extended his hitting streak in home games to 25 games, the longest streak by a Giant since at least 1918.
—Cabrera’s triple was his seventh of the season, one short of his career high, set in 2007.
—Brett Pill picked up his first career stolen base in the sixth inning.