SAN FRANCISCO -- Madison Bumgarner made history Sunday night and brought the Giants within a single victory from achieving a lot more of it.
Bumgarner established the mood for the party at AT&T Park, known formally as Game 5 of the World Series. The festive sellout crowd rocked to the beat of his complete-game four-hitter as the Giants subdued the Kansas City Royals, 5-0.
San Francisco's ace threw 84 strikes in 117 pitches while fashioning the first World Series shutout since Marlins right-hander Josh Beckett silenced the Yankees in Game 6 in 2003.
Leading the Series, 3-2, the Giants need one more triumph in the best-of-seven showdown to become the second National League club to win three World Series titles in five years. St. Louis accomplished the feat in 1942, '44 and '46.
San Francisco faces the challenge of clinching the Series in Kansas City, site of Game 6 (Tuesday, 4:30 p.m. PT air time on FOX; 5:07 first pitch) and, if necessary, Game 7. Then again, the Giants went 4-1 on the road while capturing the 2010 and '12 Series and ended five of their eight consecutive postseason series wins away from home.
"I'm just happy we won," Bumgarner said. "That was a big game for us, being tied 2-2. Going back to Kansas City with two games, it's a whole lot better that we have to win one now instead of having to win two."
Bumgarner hiked his innings total for this postseason to 47 2/3, the most all-time by a left-hander and second only to Curt Schilling's 48 1/3 for Arizona in 2001. Bumgarner also established a franchise record by making his seventh postseason start in a row in which he lasted at least seven innings and allowed three runs or fewer. He shrank his World Series ERA to an infinitesimal 0.29 in four starts, complementing Brandon Crawford's three RBIs in Game 5.
In the Giants' clubhouse was a visitor who was better suited than anybody to offer an informed appraisal of Bumgarner's performance: Juan Marichal, the greatest Giants pitcher in their San Francisco history.
Marichal witnessed Bumgarner's eight shutout innings against Texas in Game 4 of the 2010 Series.
"I said to myself, 'We're going to see a good, good pitcher for a long time.' I've liked him since," Marichal recalled. "Every time he's on the mound, I know that something positive is going to happen."
Marichal said that Bumgarner has improved significantly since then, citing Bumgarner's demeanor.
"I say that he's cold-blooded," Marichal said.
The Hall of Famer who recorded sub-1.000 WHIPs in four separate seasons and finished with a career 1.101 WHIP also lauded Bumgarner's accuracy. Citing Bumgarner's ball-strike statistics against the Royals, Marichal said, "When you do that, you're going to end up on top. His control is awesome."
Bumgarner displayed his typical excellence during his 12th career postseason start, which gave him sole possession of the franchise record he shared with Hall of Famer Christy Mathewson. Bumgarner was dominant, striking out the side in the second inning. He was steady, retiring 10 batters in a row from the second through fifth innings. He was precise, issuing zero walks. And he was emphatic, ending four of the first five innings with strikeouts.
The lone Royal to reach scoring position was Omar Infante, who blooped a one-out, fifth-inning double to left field. Bumgarner responded by striking out the next two hitters.
"I really felt like I did most of the postseason," said Bumgarner, who has a 1.13 ERA in six October starts. "I've been feeling pretty good, and I've been able to work both sides of the plate."
You can't say enough about Bumgarner. Combined with his NL Wild Card Game whitewash at Pittsburgh, this gem made him the fourth pitcher since division play began in 1969 to throw multiple shutouts in one postseason. The others are Orel Hershiser, Beckett and Randy Johnson.
"The guy's phenomenal," said Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas, 0-for-3 against Bumgarner. "He commanded all of his pitches, and when you thought you knew something, he did the exact opposite. That's what makes him good right now. He was throwing his fastball in there for strikes, and his slider was sweeping all the way across the zone."
Bumgarner also notched just the 16th World Series shutout without a walk. Kansas City's Bret Saberhagen last accomplished that feat in Game 7 of the 1985 Series.
In Giants annals, Bumgarner erased two standards from the 1962 World Series against the Yankees. He threw the club's first complete game since Billy Pierce in Game 6, and its first shutout since Jack Sanford in Game 2.
"This guy was right on tonight," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of Bumgarner. "He was strong all night. When this guy is on, it's fun to watch."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Belt goes bunting: The essential component that led to the Giants' first run, in the second inning, was Brandon Belt's shrewd bunt single, which he pushed toward third base against an infield overshifted to the right side.
"It's something we talked about," Bochy said. "[If] they put a shift on you, and they're going to give you the bunt, take it. He was working on it. It's the first one he's gotten down. He laid a beauty down there."
"During the game, when I found out the news, it was a little hard, because I was thinking too much about it," Perez said. "[Joaquin] Arias came over and said, 'Stay strong' and 'We've got to win this game.'"
After doubling, Perez advanced to third on shortstop Alcides Escobar's accompanying throwing error and looked to the sky.
"I was thinking about it at that time," Perez said. "My emotions, everything came back."
Slick support: Given his excellence, Bumgarner didn't require much defensive help. He did, however, benefit from plays made by his corner infielders in the fourth inning.
With one out, third baseman Sandoval stuck with a tricky hop on Eric Hosmer's grounder, caused by the batted ball striking the lip of the infield grass.
"You want to do every little thing to support [Bumgarner], the way he throws the ball," said Sandoval.
Belt ended the innng by scooping up Salvador Perez's grounder and sliding feet first into first base to record the putout.
• The Giants and Royals went homerless for the third consecutive game, marking the first time since the Yankees and Braves met in 1996 (Games 2, 5 and 6) that at least three World Series games were played without a homer.
• The Giants have scored first in four of five games in this Series and are 7-1 during the postseason under this circumstance. They were 65-18 when scoring first during the regular season.
• Crawford became the fourth Giants shortstop to amass at least three RBIs in a World Series game. The others were Alvin Dark (Game 1, 1951), Rich Aurilia (Game 5, 2002) and Edgar Renteria (Games 2 and 5, 2010).