Ron Washington played with fire by opting for Tommy Hunter in Game 4 over Cliff Lee, but it was San Francisco rookie Madison Bumgarner that burned the Rangers last night, tossing eight shutout innings in a 4-0 Giants win that grabbed them a 3-1 World Series lead. Bumgarner gave up just three hits and struck out six, with an Aubrey Huff two-run homer in the third the only support he needed to pick up the win.
Hunter lasted just four-plus innings for the Rangers, giving up five hits and two runs to take the loss. The Giants added single runs in the seventh and eighth, getting an RBI double from Andres Torres and a solo homer from Buster Posey for insurance.
Lee, who many pegged Washington to call on three days rest for Game 4, instead gets the ball in tonight’s Game 5, but its looking a little late for God’s gift to pitching to make an impact. Assuming he wins tonight (and after his outing in Game 1, you have to figure he’ll counter with a perfect game), the Rangers likely won’t get more out of him than a relief appearance when the series shifts back to San Francisco, with the final two games set for Wednesday and Thursday. Then again, I wouldn’t be completely shocked to see Lee go out and start all three, then sign with the Yankees and start 162 games next season while making life a living hell for his poor wife.
Lee and the Rangers won’t have it too easy tonight yet, with Tiny Tim Lincecum, who knows a thing or two about pitching himself, the opponent on the mound. Lincecum wasn’t all that strong in Game 1, giving up four runs in 5 2-3 innings, but a six-run fifth was more than enough support in an 11-7 win. In four postseason starts and one relief appearance, he’s 3-1 with a 2.79 ERA.
Game 5 gets going at 7:57.