We have a brand new ballgame in San Francisco.
After Adam Wainwright proved his doubters wrong by holding the Giants to two runs over seven innings this evening, the Cardinals’ lead vanished as soon as he left the ballgame. Michael Morse came up as a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the eighth inning and slugged a leadoff solo homer against Pat Neshek to tie things up at 3-3. The blast sent AT&T Park into a frenzy. Morse gave a curtain call to the crowd after returning to the dugout.
Morse was left off the Giants’ roster during the NLDS due to an oblique injury and he has been limited to pinch-hitting duties during the NLCS. He hit 16 home runs during the regular season, though he hadn’t gone deep against a right-handed pitcher since way back on July 5. This was a good time to break that streak.
Following Madison Bumgarner, Santiago Casilla will try to keep the tie intact as he heads to the mound for the Giants for the top of the ninth inning.
The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly and Zach Buchanan report that Diamondbacks starter Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name as recently as December. The fake name is Mason Saunders. Bumgarner explains that “Mason” is shortened from “Madison,” while “Saunders” is his wife’s maiden name.
Bumgarner — err, Saunders — and one of his rodeo partners, Jaxson Tucker, won $26,560 in a team-roping rodeo competition in December. The Rancho Rio Arena posted a picture of the pair on Facebook, highlighting that they roped four steers in 31.36 seconds.
As Baggarly and Buchanan point out, Bumgarner also pointed out in a rodeo competition last March, just a couple days before pitching in a Cactus League game versus the Athletics, back when he was still with the Giants.
Bumgarner suffered bruised ribs and a left shoulder AC sprain in 2017 when he got into a dirt bike accident. Given that, Bumgarner’s latest extracurricular activity does raise a concern for the Diamondbacks, who inked him to a five-year, $85 million contract two months ago. Baggarly and Buchanan asked Bumgarner about such a concern. Bumgarner referred them to the club’s managing partner Ken Kendrick. Kendrick directed them to GM Mike Hazen. Hazen declined speaking about “specific contract language.” For what it’s worth, Bumgarner says he primarily uses his right hand to rope.
The jig is up on Bumgarner’s hobby. He jokingly said to The Athletic’s pair, “I’m nervous about this interview right now.” He added, “I’m upset with both you two.”