The Giants had Alex Rodriguez’s press conference on in the clubhouse before Sunday’s game. On the flight to Miami, they should hold their own retirement ceremony.
Getting “Cained” is a thing of the past. You can retire that term. Nobody suffers tougher losses these days than Madison Bumgarner, who gave up just two hits but took a 1-0 loss to Tanner Roark and the Nationals.
Bumgarner has five complete-game losses in the past three seasons. The Giants allowed two hits or fewer and lost for the first time since Sept. 14, 2010, when Clayton Kershaw topped Barry Zito, 1-0.
Bumgarner and Roark went about this duel in different ways. The Giants were busy against Roark, but couldn’t get the back-breaking hit. The first two batters reached in the third, but Denard Span and Brandon Belt sandwiched strikeouts around an Angel Pagan grounder. Buster Posey hit a leadoff double in the fourth but didn’t score. Third base coach Roberto Kelly held him up on Joe Panik’s single to center with two outs and Gregor Blanco followed with a groundout.
Two more runners were left on in the fifth and a double play ended the sixth. The best chance to score off Roark came in the seventh, when a fielding error put two in scoring position with two down. Belt crushed a ball to center, but Ben Revere made a running basket catch 400 feet from the plate, robbing Belt of at least a two-run double. The first baseman slammed his helmet to the dirt in anger and it bounced into right field.
On the other side, Bumgarner didn’t allow a hit in his first three innings. Anthony Rendon smashed a double to right with two outs in the fourth but the Nationals didn’t get another knock until the seventh. Two pitches after Belt’s 404-foot out, Ramos hit a 389-foot leadoff homer to right-center.
Starting pitching report: Bumgarner threw 113 pitches on a warm day, allowing just four baserunners and striking out seven. Roark, one of the more underrated pitchers in the league, lowered his ERA to 2.88.
Bullpen report: A weary group got the day off.
At the plate: Bumgarner singled in his first at-bat and drew a walk in the seventh. In 12 second-half plate appearances, he has three hits and two walks.
In the field: Revere has replaced Span, who once robbed the Giants of a win here with a diving catch in center field.
Attendance: The Nationals announced a crowd of 32,790 human beings who hopefully didn’t see the Vine of that cyclist.
Up next: JOSE FERNANDEZ VS. JOHNNY CUETO.