Giants’ Even-Year Dominance Continues with Another World Series Crown

Posted on November 12, 2014 by

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It was a few minutes after 1:000 p.m. central time, 29 October, at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri: Game 7 of the World Series. Madison Bumgarner, who was dominant all postseason, was one out away from giving the San Francisco Giants their third championship in the past five years.

The only person in his way was Kansas City outfielder Alex Gordon, who represented the tying run. On a 1-1 pitch, Gordon laced a line drive into left center field, but the ball skipped past Gregor Blanco, going to the fence. Left fielder Juan Perez bobbled the ball on the warning track, possibly giving Gordon time to come all the way around to score. Gordon was stopped at third, though, as third base coach Mike Jirschele did not want to risk the tying run being thrown out at home to end the game and the season.

Now Bumgarner, with the tying run ninety feet away, faced All- Star catcher Salvador Perez. He made Perez pop out to third base, and the Giants won the World Series in suspenseful fashion.

The Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants each had to go through their league’s respective Wild Card  games to reach the final eight teams in the Division Series. Both teams were coming into the playoffs with different postseason backgrounds. The Royals were making their first postseason appearance since their World Series title in 1985.

Kansas City stormed through the ALDS and ALCS, sweeping both series en route to becoming the first team ever to win eight straight games to start the playoffs. A rock solid bullpen, fantastic defense, and plenty of speed helped propel the Royals.

Meanwhile, the Giants were making their third playoff trip in five seasons. The Giants had a slightly tougher road, including an eighteen inning marathon win against the Nationals in the NLDS, where unsung playoff hero Yusmeiro Petit hurled six strong innings in relief. The Giants’ run to the National League Pennant was capped by journeyman Travis Ishikawa’s walk-off home run in Game 5 of the NLCS.

Game one of the 2014 World Series was a match-up of two aces: KC’s “Big Game” James Shields and San Francisco’s dominant lefty Madison Bumgarner. Bumgarner continued his dominant playoff form and was backed by a Hunter Pence homerun in a 7-1 Giants win. The Royals would come back strong in Game two, including Billy Butler’s go ahead single and Omar Infante’s home run in a five-run 6th inning that led to a 7-2 victory.

The series moved to San Francisco for Game three, and Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar did not waste any time settling in, doubling on the first pitch of the game and later scoring on Lorenzo Cain’s RBI ground-out. The Royals would add two more runs in the top of the sixth. The Giants would cut the lead to 3-2 in the bottom half, but Kansas City’s dominant bullpen squelched the rally, later sealing the victory and a 2-1 Series lead for the Royals.

Game three featured a local product on the mound for the Giants in the form of Kutztown University alumni Ryan Vogelsong. Despite his past postseason success, Vogelsong was mediocre, and the Royals took an early 4-1 lead. The Giants would come back, however, with the big blow being Pablo Sandoval’s two-run single in the sixth that put the Giants ahead for good. Madison Bumgarner returned to the hill in Game 5, dominating the Royals with a four-hit shutout for his fourth win of the postseason.

Facing elimination, the Royals sent twenty-three-year-old Yordano Ventura to the mound in Game three. Ventura dedicated his start to his late friend, Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras, who was tragically killed in a car accident just two days before. With a tribute to Taveras written on his cap, the fireballing Ventura mowed down the San Francisco lineup, surrendering just three hits in seven shutout innings. The Royals scored seven runs in the second inning, and they easily forced a climactic game seven.

In the final game of the year, both teams scored twice in the second inning. In the top of the fourth, hard-throwing right-hander Kelvin Herrera came out of the bullpen with two runners on base, trying to stymie a Giants rally. Instead, Michael Morse singled in Pablo Sandoval to run the score to 3-2. In the bottom of the fifth, Madison Bumgarner came out of the Giants’ bullpen, trying to preserve the lead. As he had been all postseason, Bumgarner was masterful, tossing five scoreless innings on two days’ rest, giving up just two hits to secure the World Championship for San Francisco.

Bumgarner was named World Series MVP, going 2-0, with a 0.43 ERA and the save in game seven, which capped a historic postseason overall for the left-hander. He finished with a 4-1 record, a 1.03 ERA, and a playoff record 52 2/3 innings pitched.

By Ben Schittler

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