Left-hander Madison Bumgarner came out of the bullpen to carry the Giants to their third title in five years. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Madison Bumgarner leads Giants to 7th game win over Royals, 3rd World Series title in 5 years

October 29, 2014 - 7:25 pm

A World Series that lacked drama through most of the first six games evidently saved its thrills for the winner-take-all Game 7, with the San Francisco Giants emerging to claim a 3-2 victory over the Royals. The Giants are champions for the third time in five years, making them the first team since the 1998-2000 Yankees to win three World Series titles in as few as five years and just the third team in the last 40 years (in addition to those Yankees and the 1972-74 Athletics) to claim three titles in such a brief period. In claiming the win in Kauffman Stadium, the Giants became the first team since the 1979 Pirates to win a World Series Game 7 on the road. Madison Bumgarner, already the defining force in the World Series after allowing just one run in 16 innings while earning wins in Games 1 and 5, punctuated his MVP performance with five scoreless innings of relief, inheriting a 3-2 lead in the fifth inning and navigating it to the finish line. He gave up a single to the first batter he faced and then retired the next 14 in a row before Alex Gordon drove a two-out single to left-center in the ninth, the ball skipping past the center fielder for an error that permitted Gordon to race to third. But with the tying run 90 feet from the plate, Bumgarner induced a foul pop-up from Royals catcher Salvador Perez that was secured by third baseman Pablo Sandoval to give the Giants their title. Bumgarner allowed just nine hits and 10 baserunners in 21 innings during the World Series, with his career World Series ERA now at 0.25 over 36 innings, the best mark in World Series history by a pitcher with at least 20 innings in the Fall Classic. He was credited with the Game 7 win, his third of the Series, becoming the 14th pitcher in the history of the World Series with three victories in a single year, and the second (along with Randy Johnson in 2001) since 1968 to accomplish the feat. UPDATE: Approximately one hour after the conclusion of the game, the official scorer changed the discretionary interpretation of Bumgarner as the game's victor, and instead gave the win to Giants (and former Royals) reliever Jeremy Affeldt, with Bumgarner receiving credit for a five-inning save. It marked the first five-inning save in playoff history. Bumgarner's effort represented a marked contrast to what the Giants had received from starter Tim Hudson, who lasted just five outs and allowed two runs before manager Bruce Bochy lifted him in favor of reliever Jeremy Affeldt in the bottom of the second inning. Hudson had been given a 2-0 lead when the Giants scored a pair on back-to-back sacrifice flies in the top of the second inning, but Kansas City countered with a pair in the bottom of the inning on an RBI double by Alex Gordon and a sac fly. That led Giants manager Bruce Bochy to turn the game over to his bullpen, with Affeldt (2 1/3 scoreless innings) keeping the game in check and allowing San Francisco an opportunity to take the lead. That is precisely what happened in the top of the fourth. Sandoval and Hunter Pence led off with back-to-back singles, followed by Sandoval aggressively trundling to third on a fly ball to left. With one out, Royals skipper Ned Yost turned from starter Jeremy Guthrie to his bullpen, but right-hander Kelvin Herrera permitted the go-ahead single to Mike Morse on a 99 mph fastball that Morse punched to the opposite field for what proved the decisive run. Though Herrera (2 2/3 innings), Wade Davis (2 innings) and Greg Holland (scoreless ninth) permitted no further damage, that proved enough thanks to the work of the 25-year-old Giants ace. Sandoval concluded his own brilliant World Series by going 3-for-3 with a double and also reaching base via hit by pitch. He scored two of the Giants' three runs, including the game winner, and tallied 26 hits in the postseason -- the most ever in a single playoff run. Behind him in the Giants lineup, Hunter Pence went 2-for-4, giving him hits in all seven of the World Series contests and a .444 average in the series. The Giants now have eight titles in franchise history, tied with the Red Sox for the fourth most by a franchise in big league history, behind the Yankees (27), Cardinals (11) and A's (9).