Madison Bumgarner’s long-awaited first start against the Giants was shorter than he probably hoped, and lacked drama.
Bumgarner threw four innings in his return to Oracle Park, allowing two earned runs, both on homers. He left with the Diamondbacks trailing 2-1 and threw 72 pitches in his first start back from a back strain. There weren’t any signs from either side that this game carried special meaning, even when Bumgarner came high and tight on friend Brandon Belt.
Bumgarner’s first inning back in San Francisco looked like many of his previous 918 at Oracle Park. He threw seven pitches and got a popup, a groundout and a lineout to center. There was one big difference, though. As the inning ended, Bumgarner doubled back to the mound to pick up his personal rosin bag — a new addition with the 2020 rules — and then walked off slowly, looking at empty seats.
The second inning was much more in line with Bumgarner’s first four starts for the Diamondbacks. He had allowed seven homers in 17 1/3 innings before going on the injured list with a back strain, and Evan Longoria and Darin Ruf went back-to-back in the second, with Ruf’s shot traveling 453 feet to dead center.
Bumgarner’s command was off all night, and he walked Ruf and Belt with one out in the fourth before getting out of that jam.
That was it for Bumgarner, who had not started in the big leagues since August 9. He retreated to the clubhouse, except for the first time in his career, it was on the first base side of the park.