Madison Bumgarner's five-inning save in Game 7 of the 2014 World Series carried the Giants to their third title in five years, but San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy faced some second-guessing beforehand.
Bochy opted to start Bumgarner in Game 5 rather than Game 4 of the Fall Classic, leading some -- including Royals manager Ned Yost -- to believe Bumgarner would not be available for the rest of the series. Included in that group were Giants fans who got Bochy's mailing address and his voicemail inbox, the soon-to-be-retired skipper revealed in an interview with NBC Sports Bay Area's Amy Gutierrez.
Boch still sees every pitch MadBum threw in Game 7 of the WS against the Royals and shares how he deals with fan criticism. #ToastToBoch
(➡️ @bigtimebats) pic.twitter.com/8TnEQssBK4— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) September 25, 2019
"We had won two championships, and fans -- they love it, but they still had their opinion," Bochy said in an interview that will air in an hourlong "Toast to Boch" on NBC Sports Bay Area on Saturday night. "So, they were upset. I was getting letters. I don't know if I've ever said this, but I got letters and somehow they got to my voicemail, a couple people. I don't know how they knew the code. But they were upset because Bumgarner didn't pitch Game 4. I pitched him in Game 5 and we felt this was ... the best way to win a World Series."
Bumgarner struck out eight and allowed just four hits in a complete-game victory in the Giants' 5-0 win in Game 5. The Giants took a three-games-to-two series lead before it headed to Kansas City, but the Royals evened the series thanks to a dominant 10-0 win in Game 6.
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Tim Hudson lasted just 1 2/3 innings and allowed two earned runs in the Game 7 start, but reliever Jeremy Affeldt went 2 1/3 to bridge the way to Bumgarner. Just three days after going the distance, Bumgarner gave up just two hits, no walks and struck out four in five innings of work. It was the most iconic performance of his career, and the save cemented Bumgarner's status as one of MLB's best postseason pitchers.
"Bumgarner's picture should be on the ring, I know that," Bochy concluded.
"Toast to Boch" airs Saturday, Sept. 28 on NBC Sports Bay Area at 5 p.m., following the conclusion of "Giants Postgame Live."