EXTRA BAGGS: Bumgarner cool, collected

EXTRA BAGGS: Bumgarner cool, collected
August 15, 2012, 6:55 am
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SAN FRANCISCO -- Shortly after his Independence Day loss atWashington DC, when the Nationals punked his fuse for three home runs and sevenearned runs, Madison Bumgarner made a confession to manager Bruce Bochy.

He said he kind of lost his focus, Bochy said. He said hewasnt focused on getting hitters out as much as battling the weather.

No focus issues this time. The conditions were cool andBumgarner was collected while throwing his second career complete game. TheNationals, who had scored 38 runs in their first four victories over theGiants, managed just a run on five hits against Bumgarner as he and the selloutcrowd enjoyed a soothing, 6-1 victory Tuesday night.

Bochy said he wouldve used Sergio Romo to start the ninthbefore the Giants tacked on four runs in the eighth to open up a 2-1 game.

He pitched very efficiently, Bochy said. Thats whatallowed us to let him finish the game. And I knew he wanted to.

Bumgarner said he knew where his focus needed to be,especially after watching the Nationals take out Ryan Vogelsong in a 14-2victory a night earlier.

I knew, especially after what they did to me at theirplace, and what they did last night, he said. I needed to come in here withcomplete focus and put pitches where they needed to go.

Bumgarner was never better than the fourth inning, when asingle and a bungled sacrifice bunt created a scary situation. The leftyinduced three soft outs from the middle of the Nationals lineup.

Youve just got to slow down when that happens, saidBumgarner, who couldnt handle Bryce Harpers bunt. You take it pitch by pitchand not get carried away.

Said Bochy: Hes as good as anybody at bouncing back andmaking an adjustment. He did tonight.

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Did we mention that Bumgarner is younger than Stephen Strasburg?

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Beating the Nationals was important for the Giants psyche(both the fans and the players), but maybe it wasnt the most important thingin the world.

After Wednesday, the Giants wont see the Nationals again inthe regular season. They certainly dont want to see them in the N.L. DivisionSeries. And it would be especially daunting if the Giants get there as a wildcard and have to burn through their best pitchers just to advance past aone-game playoff. (The Reds could always catch the Nats for the No. 1 seed,though.)

RELATED: MLB standings

The key for the Giants, as it was in the beginning, is nowand ever shall be, is to win the N.L. West. That means beating up on the Padresand Rockies. It means refusing to let the Arizona Diamondbacks bubble up intothis race. And it means playing their best baseball against their archrivals,whom theyll see again beginning Monday at Dodger Stadium.

Even if the Giants do tangle with the Nats again in the playoffs, they'll enter with a clean slate. Nothing that happened during the regular season matterspast the first weekend in October.

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Hunter Pence felt badly about not catching Jayson Werthstriple that led to the Nationals only run. Pence said he flinched and didnttake an extra step because he thought he was about to make contact with centerfielder Angel Pagan.

If I just take that extra step and reach for it, Id befine, he said.

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The Giants need a dependable long man with Brad Penny out.Perhaps itll be Guillermo Mota.

Hes eligible to return Aug. 28 after a 100-game suspensionfor testing positive for a banned substance. Motas road officially beganTuesday night, when he threw 1 13 innings for the Giants affiliate in therookie-level Arizona League.

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The Madison Bumgarner sandwich from Ikes Place sounds damngood right about now.

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