Madison Bumgarner tosses 5-0 shutout in Game 5 to send Giants up 3-2 in the World Series over the Royals

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Madison Bumgarner has had some kind of post-season. The 25-year-old left-hander left the Royals scratching their heads, limiting them to only four hits while walking none and striking out eight on 117 pitches in a shutout in Game 5 of the World Series. It’s Bumgarner’s second shutout of this post-season; he blanked the Pirates in the National League Wild Card game. Bumgarner is also the first Giant to toss a shutout in the World Series since Jack Sanford in Game 2 of the 1962 World Series against the Yankees.

Bumgarner is the first to throw a shutout in the World Series since Josh Beckett in the 2003 World Series for the Marlins against the Yankees. He now has a 1.13 ERA in six starts this post-season and a 0.56 ERA in his two World Series starts. Over his career, he now has a 2.27 ERA in 12 playoff starts and one relief appearance. In four career World Series starts spanning 31 innings, Bumgarner owns a sterling 0.29 ERA.

The Giants gave Bumgarner some early run support, scratching out a run in the bottom of the second inning on a Brandon Crawford ground out. In the fourth, Crawford provided some insurance with an RBI single up the middle. Juan Perez created plenty of breathing room in the bottom of the eighth against Royals set-up man Wade Davis, blasting a double off of the very top of the wall — three inches from a three-run home run — in left-center, scoring Pablo Sandoval and Hunter Pence following their singles to make it 4-0. Perez had himself a double, then advanced to third on the throw to the plate, and scored on the next-at bat when Crawford dunked a single into left field. With the way Bumgarner was dealing, though, one run was enough.

Pablo Sandoval, Hunter Pence, and Travis Ishikawa each had two hits for the Giants, setting the table for Crawford — batting eighth — to knock them in. Sandoval and Pence each scored two runs.

Royals starter James Shields is not to be forgotten. He wasn’t nearly as dominant as Bumgarner, but pitched well enough for a win on most nights, holding the Giants to two runs on eight hits and a walk with four strikeouts in six innings. It was a marked improvement over his Game 1 start.

With the Giants now up 3-2 in the World Series over the Royals, the two clubs will use the off-day on Monday to travel to Kansas City for Game 6 on Tuesday night, which will feature Jake Peavy against Yordano Ventura. If necessary, Game 7 on Wednesday night would see Tim Hudson against Jeremy Guthrie.

Astros owner Crane expects to hire new manager by Feb. 3

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HOUSTON (AP) — Houston Astros owner Jim Crane expects to hire a new manager by Feb. 3.

The Astros need a new manager and general manager after AJ Hinch and Jeff Luhnow were fired Monday, hours after both were suspended by Major League Baseball for a year for the team’s sign-stealing scandal.

Crane said Friday that he’s interviewed a number of candidates this week and has some more to talk to in the coming days.

Crane refused to answer directly when asked if former Astros player and Hall of Famer Craig Biggio was a possibility for the job. But he did say that he had spoken to Biggio, fellow Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell and former Astros star Lance Berkman in the days since the firings.

“We’ve talked to all of our Killer B’s,” Crane said referring to the nickname the three shared while playing for the Astros. “They’ve contacted me and they’ve all expressed that they would like to help. Berkman, Bagwell, Biggio have all called and said: ‘hey, if there’s anything I can do, I’m here for you.’”

“So we’ll continue to visit with those guys and see if there’s something there.”

Crane says his list is still rather extensive and that he hopes to have it narrowed down by the end of next week. He added that he expects most of Hinch’s staff to stay in place regardless of who is hired.

Crane has enlisted the help of three or four employees to help him with the interview process, including some in Houston’s baseball operations department.

“We compare notes,” he said. “I’ve learned a long time ago that you learn a lot if four or five people talk to a key candidate and you get a lot more information. So that’s what we’re doing.”

Crane’ top priority is finding a manager with spring training less than a month away, but he said he would start focusing on the search for a general manager after he hires a manager. He expects to hire a GM before the end of spring training.

“We should have another good season with the team pretty much intact … so I don’t know why a manager wouldn’t want to come in and manage these guys,” he said. “They’re set to win again.”

The penalties announced by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred on Monday came after he found illicit use of electronics to steal signs in Houston’s run to the 2017 World Series championship and again in the 2018 season. The Astros were also fined $5 million, which is the maximum allowed under the Major League Constitution, and must forfeit their next two first- and second-round amateur draft picks.

The investigation found that the Astros used the video feed from a center field camera to see and decode the opposing catcher’s signs. Players banged on a trash can to signal to batters what was coming, believing it would improve the batter’s odds of getting a hit.

With much still in flux, Crane was asked what qualities are most important to him in his next manager.

“Someone mature that can handle the group,” he said. “Someone that’s had a little bit of experience in some areas. We’ve just got to find a leader that can handle some pressure and there’s going to be a little bit of pressure from where this team has been in the last few months.”

Despite his comment about experience, Crane said having been a major league manager before is not mandatory to him.

“We made some mistakes,” he said. “We made a decision to let that get behind us. We think the future is bright. We’ll make the adjustments … people think we’re in crisis. I certainly don’t believe that.”