Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner has four home runs this season, including two grand slams

5 Comments

Giants left-hander Madison Bumgarner, who came into this year as a career .138 hitter, smacked his fourth homer of the season last night against the Dodgers.

He’s now hitting .258 with four homers (including two grand slams) and a .755 OPS in 78 plate appearances this season, which is a higher OPS than, among others: Yoenis Cespedes, Bryce Harper, Chase Utley, Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford, Josh Hamilton, Pablo Sandoval, Joe Mauer, Jose Reyes, Evan Longoria, Carlos Gonzalez, Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson, Dustin Pedroia.

Anyway, you get the idea.

Bumgarner is also tied for the most home runs by a pitcher since 2006, when Carlos Zambrano went deep six times. Here are all the pitchers with four or more homers in the past 10 seasons:

Madison Bumgarner    2014     4
Yovani Gallardo      2010     4
Carlos Zambrano      2009     4
Carlos Zambrano      2008     4
Micah Owings         2007     4
Carlos Zambrano      2006     6

Carlos Zambrano hit 24 home runs in 693 at-bats, including at least one homer every season from 2003 to 2012 and multiple homers in five of those years.

Astros push ALCS to Game 7 with 7-1 stunner against Yankees

Getty Images
7 Comments

There’s just something about playing in your home ballpark. The Astros decimated the Yankees at Minute Maid Park on Friday, riding seven scoreless innings from Justin Verlander and a pair of big runs from Jose Altuve to win 7-1 and force a Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

Through the first four innings, however, the teams looked equally matched. Luis Severino no-hit the Astros through 3 2/3 innings, losing his bid on Carlos Correa‘s line drive single in the fourth. The Astros returned in the fifth to do some real damage, drawing two walks and plating the first run of the night with Brian McCann‘s ground-rule double off of the right field wall. Things didn’t get any easier for Severino. Jose Altuve lined a two-RBI base hit into left field, upping Houston’s advantage to three runs.

Verlander, meanwhile, muted the Yankees’ offense with seven innings of five-hit, eight-strikeout ball. While he didn’t come close to matching his complete game effort in Game 2, he was still plenty dominant against a struggling New York lineup. No player reached past first base until the sixth inning, when a pair of base hits from Chase Headley and Didi Gregorius gave the Yankees their first runner in scoring position. That didn’t last long, though, as Gary Sanchez grounded out on a 3-0 slider to end the inning.

In the seventh, Houston’s ace got into another spot of trouble. He walked Greg Bird on six pitches to start the inning, then plunked Starlin Castro on the wrist. Aaron Hicks struck out, in part thanks to a questionable call by home plate umpire Jim Reynolds, but it was Todd Frazier who presented the biggest threat after returning an 0-1 fastball for a 403-foot fly out to left field. Luckily for Verlander, George Springer was there to bail him out with a leaping catch at the wall.

The Yankees kept things exciting in the eighth, too. Aaron Judge ripped his third postseason home run off of Brad Peacock, taking a 425-footer out to the train in left field to spoil the Astros’ shutout. That was the only real break the Yankees got, however, as Altuve, Alex Bregman and Evan Gattis returned in the bottom of the inning to tack on another four runs, including Altuve’s solo shot off of David Robertson:

Ken Giles handled the ninth, expending 23 pitches and giving up a base hit and a walk before retiring Frazier and Headley to end the game. Thanks to Houston’s winning efforts, the two teams will compete in their first seven-game Championship Series since 2004 — and this time, at least one of them is guaranteed to come away with a win.

Game 7 of the ALCS is set for Saturday at 8:00 PM ET. Houston right-hander Charlie Morton (14-7, 3.62 ERA) is scheduled to face southpaw CC Sabathia (14-5, 3.69 ERA).