Madison Bumgarner’s mere presence back on the mound and healthy after all these months meant so much to the San Francisco Giants, even in defeat.
But the big lefty is a perfectionist, and he expected more of himself in his long-awaited season debut.
Bumgarner pitched six strong innings yet the Giants missed key scoring opportunities in losing 3-2 to Patrick Corbin and the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night as San Francisco’s five-game winning streak was snapped.
“That’s what I get paid to do,” Bumgarner said. “It’s nice to earn your paycheck instead of stealing it.”
Bumgarner (0-1) broke the pinkie on his pitching hand during his final start of spring training, then finally got his turn in early June for an adoring home crowd. He allowed two runs and eight hits in his first regular-season outing. San Francisco’s ace left-hander struck out three and didn’t walk a batter.
Corbin (6-2) outdid MadBum, striking out seven over 6 1/3 innings and allowing one run on four hits with two walks. The left-hander was staked to an early lead and the first-place Diamondbacks held on late.
Buster Posey hit an RBI single with two outs in the ninth and Andrew McCutchen followed with a single before Brad Boxberger retired Evan Longoria on a groundout to earn his 14th save.
Bumgarner had so hoped to start this season on a positive note after he missed nearly three months in 2017 following an April 20 dirt bike accident sustained during an off day in Colorado. But after breaking his left pinkie in March when it was hit by a line drive, he underwent surgery to have three pins inserted and then later had them removed.
Bumgarner received cheers when he headed out to left field to begin his warmup routine, then a nice ovation when his name was announced before the game.
“You get your guy back, it’s a lift for everybody — the rotation, the club,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “It’s good to have him back. We heard the crowd. He was excited to be back.”
Bumgarner was tagged for two runs in the second when he gave up consecutive doubles to Ketel Marte and Chris Owings to start the inning and then Kristopher Negron’s RBI single.
“I felt like we had a really good plan and a really good approach,” Owings said. “We kind of jumped on him a little bit early and when he threw strikes.”
Paul Goldschmidt had three hits for Arizona, and pinch-hitter Jake Lamb provided an important insurance run with an RBI single in the ninth.
Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo expected Bumgarner’s best even if Day One of this season for the 2014 World Series MVP came in early June.
“I can be sure of one thing, he’s going to come out guns a blazing doing what he does best,” Lovullo said before the game.
Corbin struck out the side in the fifth with the bases loaded to escape a huge jam.
San Francisco had just put one run back on the board for Bumgarner on Brandon Crawford’s RBI double after Mac Williamson doubled leading off the inning. Pablo Sandoval followed with a bloop single, then Joe Panik walked to bring up MadBum with the bases loaded and no outs.
Bumgarner, who has two career grand slams, struck out swinging and slammed the barrel of his bat into the dirt in disgust — his 12th strikeout lifetime with the bases full.
“What I’d like to have back is that at-bat with the bases loaded. I’ve got to find a way to get a guy in there,” Bumgarner said. “That was the difference I think.”
Gorkys Hernandez and Posey also struck out as the Giants struggled to deliver key hits one night after a 10-3 win.
San Francisco missed scoring chances in the seventh and eighth, too.
Starting opposite Bumgarner for the third time in his career and first at AT&T Park, Corbin retired his first 11 batters before McCutchen’s two-out single in the fourth.
Corbin won at San Francisco for the first time since Sept. 19, 2015. He is 3-0 with a 1.30 ERA in his last four starts versus the Giants and 5-1 in his last 11 road outings, 10 starts.
Diamondbacks: RHP Shelby Miller, recovering from May 2017 Tommy John surgery, will stay with Double-A Jackson for now on his rehab assignment. He made his second rehab outing, also having pitched for Class A Visalia, on Monday and allowed one run, four hits and four walks in 4 2/3 innings with six strikeouts while throwing 79 pitches. Lovullo said Miller will make one more start with the hope of getting him stretched out to about 90 pitches. “He said he was sore in all the right places,” Lovullo said.
Giants: RHPs Johnny Cueto (right elbow inflammation) and Jeff Samardzija (right shoulder tightness) are scheduled for their first light bullpen sessions Friday as they work their way back. Cueto is expected to return late this month and Samardzija likely sooner. … 1B Brandon Belt, who had an appendectomy late Friday, is beginning to do conditioning work and will continue to add more to his workload as he recovers. He’s expected to be out three weeks and won’t travel to Washington or Miami on the next road trip but could meet the team in Los Angeles before a series with the Dodgers beginning June 15.
Diamondbacks: RHP Clay Buchholz (1-1, 1.50 ERA) makes his second career start against the Giants and first since June 26, 2010, also at AT&T Park while with Boston.
Giants: RHP Chris Stratton (7-3, 4.50) goes for his eighth victory. The Giants are 9-3 in his starts this season, including 5-1 at home.
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