Only thing Royals can do: Tip cap to Bumgarner

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KANSAS CITY — There was no bitterness as Royals hitters talked about the mastery of Madison Bumgarner in this World Series.

Only admiration and respect for a Giants pitcher who delivered one of the most impressive individual performances in postseason history.

“The guy’s a bulldog,” Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain said after the Giants’ 3-2 Game 7 victory. “He wants the ball at all costs. He showed up again tonight. We knew they’d probably go to him once they got the lead. They went right to him and he came in and got the job done.”

Everyone figured Bumgarner, on the heels of Sunday’s four-hit shutout, would take the hill in relief at some point Wednesday. But it was expected to be a cameo — a couple of innings that the Royals would have to tolerate like downing a bad spoonful of cough medicine.

[RECAP: Giants beat Royals 3-2 in Game 7]

But upon entering to start the bottom of the fifth, not only did Bumgarner dominate, he did so with efficiency. His low pitch count allowed Giants manager Bruce Bochy to continue sending him out there inning after inning to preserve a one-run lead. By the final out, Bumgarner had delivered five shutout innings and needed just 68 pitches to do it.

It was a foregone conclusion he would end the night clutching the Series Most Valuable Player trophy. The North Carolina native became the seventh player in history to win both the League Championship Series MVP and the World Series MVP.

Royals left fielder Alex Gordon was most impressed with Bumgarner’s cutter, a sentiment echoed by other Kansas City hitters throughout the Fall Classic.

“You think it’s a strike and you swing, and it’s two feet outside,” Gordon said. “All I can say is he’s a great pitcher. He deserves this more than anybody. He pretty much won three games for them. I just give him credit. I didn’t face him until this year. I knew what kind of pitcher he was. I knew he’d be tough. We saw it.”

[RELATED: Bumgarner named World Series MVP]

Bumgarner notched two victories and was credited with a five-inning save in Wednesday’s clincher. He allowed just one earned run in 21 innings for a 0.43 ERA that was the lowest in a single World Series (15 innings minimum) since Sandy Koufax notched a 0.38 mark for the 1965 Dodgers.

For pitchers with at least 25 career World Series innings, Bumgarner’s 0.25 ERA is the lowest of all-time. He’s allowed just one run in 36 innings spread over three Series (2010, 2012 and 2014 — all won by the Giants).

After he logged 117 pitches Sunday, the Royals surely didn’t expect Bumgarner to be able to handle five innings Wednesday. But no one was surprised after seeing how quickly he was buzzing through Kansas City’s lineup, including Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer.

“For a guy that just pitched three days ago to come back looking like he did (Wednesday), it’s impressive.”

Joe Stiglich is CSNBayArea.com’s A’s Insider. Follow him on Twitter @JoeStiglichCSN.

Yankees place Aaron Judge (strained calf) on IL

Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK — Yankees star Aaron Judge was placed on the injured list with a right calf strain before Friday night’s game against Boston and manager Aaron Boone is optimistic the outfielder will not miss significant time.

The move was retroactive to Wednesday and Boone described the strain as mild after an MRI revealed the injury. To replace Judge on the roster, Thairo Estrada was recalled from the Yankees’ alternate site in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Judge began Friday leading the majors with nine homers and tied with Colorado’s Charlie Blackmon for the major league lead with 20 RBIs.

“It’s something that I think he really wants to try and work through here and kind of wants to be out here and feels like it’s a day-to-day thing which it may very well be, but I just think obviously it goes without saying how important a player Aaron is to us,” Boone said.

Boone had said last weekend’s series on the artificial turf in Tampa Bay took its toll on the 6-foot-7 outfielder.

Judge joined Giancarlo Stanton as the second Yankees slugger to land on the injured list this. Stanton was placed on the IL with a strained hamstring after getting hurt in the second game of last Saturday’s doubleheader.

“We’ve lost two MVP-caliber players,” Boone said. “Obviously that is a blow, especially two guys that playing well as they are right now.”

Judge was pulled for a pinch hitter during Tuesday night’s win over Atlanta and didn’t play Wednesday. The Yankees were off Thursday.

The 28-year-old All-Star missed time during July’s training camp because of a stiff neck.

The 2017 AL Rookie of the Year hit 27 homers in each of the last two seasons, both of them interrupted by injuries. His right wrist was broken when he was hit by a pitch in 2018 and he went on the injured list for two months last year with a left oblique strain.

Judge was diagnosed with a broken rib in March and would not have been ready for the season opener if the season began as scheduled on March 26.