The San Francisco Giants, defeating the Kansas City Royals, have won their third World Series championship in five seasons.
Madison Kyle Bumgarner was the story.
Bumgarner, almost singlehandedly, helped to clinch the San Francisco victory in Game 1, Game 5, and Game 7, pitching deep into all three games, including a historic Game 7 performance to take the title.
With the Giants winning 3-2 after four and a half innings, manager Bruce Bochy summoned Madison Bumgarner from the bullpen. Kaufmann Stadium erupted with boos. Bumgarner had crushed the Royals twice already, and the home crowd did not want him to do it once again.
Over the last nine World Series Game 7s prior to this one, the home team was 9-0. Bumgarner's job was to shut the Royals down for two or three innings to get the Giants to the back end of their bullpen. As it turns out, Bumgarner was the back end of the bullpen.
After allowing Omar Infante to single leading off, Bumgarner was nearly flawless. He retired 14 straight Royals to get closer to the Giants eighth title in franchise history.
After some shutdown pitching from Kansas City's bullpen of Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis, and Greg Holland, Bumgarner entered the bottom of the ninth with a 3-2 lead. Eric Hosmer struck out and Billy Butler popped out.
Then stepped in Alex Gordon, arguably the best player on the Royals roster and one of the best in the American League. Gordon worked the count, then hit a shallow fly ball into center field, which Giants center fielder Gregor Blanco misplayed. It got past him and allowed Gordon to get to third base.
Salvador Perez had a chance to tie the game with two outs and a runner on third. He had a chance to be the hero. But Madison Bumgarner could not allow that. Perez, on a 2-2 pitch, hit a popup to third baseman Pablo Sandoval for the third and final out of the game and the series.
Madison Bumgarner was not just good in Game 7. He tossed seven innings of one-run baseball in the Giants 7-1 Game 1 victory. He tossed the first World Series shutout since 2003 in Game 5, allowing just four hits, striking out eight. And, just three days later after that 117 pitch performance, Bumgarner threw 68 more in his five shutout innings in Game 7.
Over his 21 innings pitched during the World Series, Bumgarner allowed just one run, good for a 0.43 ERA. Royals hitters batted just .127 against him. He struck out seventeen. Without question, Bumgarner was named the World Series MVP, the first pitcher to be named MVP since Cole Hamels in 2008.
On the other side of the field, it was a tough ending for the Royals. Kansas City, the long shots, had taken their first postseason birth in 29 years and lived it to the fullest. They came back in the AL Wild Card Game, they swept the Orioles and Angels, and they worked their ways into the hearts of Americans across the country. Losing Game 7, on your home turf, is definitely a tough one.
Bumgarner was not the only top performer from the team based in San Francisco. Hunter Pence hit .444 (12-for-27) with a homer and five runs batted in, along with very solid defense. Pablo Sandoval hit .429 (12-for-28) with three extra base hits and four runs batted in. Without Bumgarner's absolute monster series, either Pence or Sandoval would have been a strong candidate to win the MVP award.
Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants on winning the 2014 World Series!