It was June 21, 2011, a little over three years ago. The defending world champion San Francisco Giants were hosting the Minnesota Twins, and I was at the park with two friends who were visiting from the East Coast. They admitted they would be rooting for the Twins, although if I remember correctly, they promised to be mellow about it.
One thing you notice when looking at box scores from even such a short time ago as 2011 is that teams change over time. Of the eight field players in the Giants lineup for that game, only one is still with the team, Pablo Sandoval. (Jeremey Affeldt appeared in relief.) I’d forgotten that Miguel Tejada had been a Giant. Bill Hall only played 16 games with the team … this was one of them. The starting pitcher was a young guy who had started the season slow, but over his last ten starts he had posted a 2.03 ERA, although his record in that time was only 3-5. The Giants had been swept across the Bay in Oakland, but they held a half-game lead at the start of play on June 21.
We settled into our seats. Minnesota leadoff hitter Ben Revere grounded a 1-1 pitch in the hole into left field for a single. Alexi Casilla doubled into left on an 0-2 pitch, with Revere going to third. Joe Mauer had a 1-2 count when he scratched out an infield hit, giving the Twins a 1-0 lead. Cleanup hitter Michael Cuddyer went to 0-2 and then doubled home Casilla for 2-0. Delmon Young hit the first pitch up the middle for a single … 3-0. Danny Valencia actually hit the ball hard, an 0-1 pitch to deep left-center … 4-0. Luke Hughes hit an 0-1 pitch for a line drive single, scoring two more … 6-0. Tsuyoshi Nishioka doubled to deep center, putting runners at 2nd and 3rd. Finally, an out was recorded, as Twins’ pitcher Carl Pavano struck out on three pitches. But then Ben Revere, who had started it all off, doubled home two runs, at which point it was Minnesota 8, San Francisco 0. Bruce Bochy came out and called to the bullpen for Guillermo Mota. The starting pitcher had lasted only 1/3 inning, allowing 8 runs on 9 hits, only retiring the opposing pitcher. It was the worst start of his major-league career.
You know where this is going. That pitcher’s name was Madison Bumgarner.
John Shea, writing in the Chronicle, noted that “the Twins opened with eight straight hits, the first time it happened to the Giants in their 128-year history” and that Bumgarner was “the first pitcher in the live-ball era (since 1900) to surrender nine hits without getting at least two outs.”