Bumgarner's heroics not enough for Giants

Bumgarner's heroics not enough for Giants

LOS ANGELES -- Madison Bumgarner's action-packed Tuesday night made him an exception among the Giants. He jawed with Yasiel Puig, lined a two-run homer and pitched 7 1/3 effective innings, but the rest of the Giants did little else, as right-hander Zack Greinke subdued them for eight innings in Los Angeles' 4-2 triumph.

The Giants slipped one game behind the Pirates, who clinched their postseason berth earlier in the evening, in the National League Wild Card standings. However, San Francisco received a consolation prize in the form of Milwaukee's 3-1 loss to Cincinnati. The Brewers' loss assured the Giants of at least a tie for the second Wild Card spot. One more Milwaukee defeat or San Francisco victory will send the Giants to the postseason. That should sharpen their focus on passing Pittsburgh to earn home-field advantage for the Oct. 1 Wild Card game.

"If we find a way to get in the playoffs, everybody knows how dangerous we are, no matter what the situation is or who we're playing," Bumgarner said.

Due to the nature of baseball's postseason alignment, a truly unique occurrence could unfold in Wednesday's series finale. Having clinched a tie for the NL West title, the Dodgers can capture the division crown and bask in the glory of celebrating in front of the Giants. But another Milwaukee loss will propel the Giants into the postseason as well and enable them to perform their own victory dance.

"I don't think about that. We're going to try to win tomorrow and see what happens," manager Bruce Bochy said.

If anything's certain, it's that the Giants-Dodgers rivalry will remain alive and well as long as Bumgarner and Puig remain on different sides.

Asked if they might have to learn to coexist, since they could compete against each other in the same division throughout the foreseeable future, Bumgarner said, "I don't think that's in the cards for us."

Winning wasn't in the cards for Bumgarner (18-10), who allowed three homers -- two by Justin Turner, who book-ended Bumgarner's outing with long balls, and Matt Kemp's two-run drive to finish Los Angeles' three-run first inning.

"Terrible. All of them," Bumgarner said, lamenting the pitches that Turner and Kemp redirected. "I never made my location and wasn't fortunate enough to get away with anything."

Nor did Bumgarner allow Puig to get away with a perceived surly attitude. After Turner's first homer, Bumgarner struck Puig in the left foot with an 0-2 pitch, though he insists that he didn't throw at Puig intentionally.

"He'll know if it's on purpose," Bumgarner said. "I'll make sure of that. Which it wasn't. Obviously."

Knocked down, Puig stared menacingly at Bumgarner.

"He looked at me like he had something in mind," said Bumgarner, who admitted speaking first.

Said Puig: "He looked at me and said, 'What are you looking at?' I reacted after that comment."

Puig's reaction was to stalk toward the mound, ignoring catcher Buster Posey and plate umpire Adrian Johnson, who tried to block his path. Bumgarner tossed aside his glove and prepared to exchange blows instead of words. But although both benches and bullpens emptied, no punches were thrown, and no players were ejected.

This incident recalled the hostilities of May 9, when Puig homered off Bumgarner and punctuated his swing with a theatrical bat flip. Bumgarner approached Puig as he neared home plate and expressed his displeasure.

Bumgarner surrendered just one hit from the second through the seventh innings. He also generated San Francisco's only scoring off Greinke (16-8), who improved to 5-0 with a 1.59 ERA against the Giants this season. Bumgarner connected with an 0-2 pitch in the third inning for his fourth homer of the season, the most by a Giants pitcher since "Prince Hal" Schumacher hit six in 1934. Bumgarner's 15 RBIs match Juan Marichal's 1966 total for the highest by a Giants pitcher since the franchise moved to San Francisco in 1958.

"That was nice to get us back in the game there," Bumgarner said, "but you can't afford to make as many mistakes as I did tonight."

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.