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Bumgarner’s shutout has Giants on brink

Bumgarner’s shutout has Giants on brink

San Francisco, CA (SportsNetwork.com) – Madison Bumgarner and a singles-happy lineup moved the San Francisco Giants within one win of a third World Series title in five years.

Bumgarner sparkled in a four-hit shutout to beat fellow ace James Shields for the second time in the series and the Giants hit 11 more singles in a 5-0 win over the Kansas City Royals in Game 5 on Sunday night.

The Giants won two of the last three games at their home park to take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series, which shifts to Kansas City for Game 6 on Tuesday and Game 7 on Wednesday, if necessary.

The Giants have scored 15 unanswered runs since trailing 4-1 after 2 1/2 innings in Game 4 on Saturday.

Eleven of their 12 hits on Sunday were singles, the outlier being Juan Perez’s two-run double off the top of the center-field wall to highlight a three-run rally in the eighth inning to make it 5-0.

They rolled to an 11-4 win on Saturday night in similar fashion, collecting 13 singles among their first 14 hits before doubles by Joe Panik and Hunter Pence broke it open.

Bumgarner (2-0) polished his already shiny Fall Classic resume by throwing the first World Series shutout since Josh Beckett’s Game 6 clincher in 2003 for the Marlins against the Yankees.

Bumgarner struck out eight, walked none and retired 24 of the final 26 batters he faced, including the last nine.

The 25-year-old left-hander improved to 4-0 in four World Series starts, two of them in this series and one each during San Francisco’s title runs in 2010 and 2012.

The NL Championship Series MVP is 4-1 in six starts this postseason, starting with a victory in Pittsburgh in the NL wild-card game on Oct. 1.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he thought about taking Bumgarner out, “but he was throwing too good.”

“He didn’t have any stressful innings,” Bochy said. “He was strong all night. When this guy’s on, he’s fun to watch.”

The Royals have lost two games in a row for the first time since Sept. 19 and 20 against Detroit.

But Kansas City manager Ned Yost said he liked his team’s chances in front of a home crowd he expects will be “absolutely crazy” — and one that’s seen the Royals win five of six games this postseason.

“We’ve got to walk the tightrope without a net, but we’re not afraid to walk the tightrope without a net,” said Yost. “We fall off, we’re dead.”

Five days after being knocked around for five runs in three innings in Kansas City’s 7-1 loss in Game 1, Shields (0-1) gave up two runs on eight hits in six innings.

Hunter Pence and Brandon Belt hit consecutive singles off Shields to start the second inning and Pence later scored on Brandon Crawford’s groundout to give the Giants the only run the needed.

Crawford had three RBI, the second on a two-out single in the fourth. But the Giants put the game away with a rally against vaunted middle relievers Kelvin Herrera and Wade Davis in the eighth inning.

Perez came within inches of hitting a three-run homer and Crawford followed with a single to score him.

The Giants finished 6-2 at home this postseason after going 45-36 at AT&T Park during the regular season.

Game Notes

The last eight World Series complete games have been thrown by NL pitchers … Bumgarner was the first Giants pitcher to toss a complete game in the Series since 1962, when Jack Sanford threw a shutout in Game 2 against the Yankees and Billy Pierce had a complete game in Game 6 … The first pitch was thrown by the son of late comedian and Oscar-winning actor Robin Williams, a Bay Area resident and longtime Giants fan. Standing in front of his siblings Zelda and Cody, Zak delivered the pitch to actor and comedian Billy Crystal, a friend of Williams’.

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