SAN FRANCISCO -- Given the way Madison Bumgarner was pitching, it was becoming harder and harder to envision that a Nationals offense that had struggled mightily in this National League Division Series would break through against the ace lefty late in Game 3 on Monday.
So perhaps it's fitting that Washington's first two runs came on a Bumgarner error, and on a ball not hurled toward the plate, but rather an ill-advised and off-the-mark throw to third base. Bumgarner's mishandling of a Wilson Ramos sacrifice bunt in the seventh inning of a scoreless game helped cost the Giants Game 3 in a 4-1 loss at AT&T Park, and it also snapped his postseason scoreless streak at 22 innings.
Bumgarner's 22-inning postseason scoreless streak is the second-longest streak in franchise history. He passed Matt Cain (17 1/3 innings) and Art Nehf (19 innings) on Monday. Only Hall of Famer Christy Mathewson has a longer postseason scoreless streak, a 28-inning stretch from 1905-11.
"You can't throw the ball away. I screwed it up for us," Bumgarner said. "I thought we had a shot right there. Whether we had a shot or not, we still had a shot to get Ramos at first base."
Bumgarner said catcher Buster Posey was yelling to throw to third. Posey later confirmed this.
"I thought the way it came off his bat, that we had a shot," Posey said, "but [Ian] Desmond got a good break [from second base] on it."
Regardless of which player saw what, Giants manager Bruce Bochy was not one to make excuses for the costly error.
"You take the out. He tried to rush it. He threw it away. He threw it away well, too," Bochy said. "In a game like that, that's probably going to cost you, which it did. He pitched great. That was not a good decision, and sure, you wish you could have it back and just get the out there."
Bumgarner is the 16th pitcher to throw 20 or more consecutive scoreless innings in the postseason. Former Yankees closer Mariano Rivera holds the record for the longest streak, at 33 1/3 innings.
Ryan Hood is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ryanhood19. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.