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Bumgarner pitches 7 strong innings in return

From ESPN - July 15, 2017

SAN DIEGO --Madison Bumgarner was back on the mound after three long months away. The San Francisco Giants left-hander was making his first start since April 19 at Kansas City. The next day, he wiped out while riding a dirt bike on a day off in Denver, spraining the AC joint in his left shoulder and suffering bruised ribs.

He pitched seven innings Saturday night and left with the score tied at 3 after allowing four hits, including home runs to Matt Szczur and Jabari Blash, while striking out five and walking two.

The San Diego Padres won the game 5-3 on Hector Sanchez's two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth.

"I felt pretty good the whole time and we kind of gradually built up to it," said Bumgarner, who threw 102 pitches. "I knew I was not going to be able to get much over 100, or they would not have let me anyway. So yeah if you can get out there for seven, I will take that any time."

The lefty retired the first seven batters before Szczur homered to left, his third. Bumgarner walked Carlos Asuaje leading off the fourth and retired the next two batters before Blash drove a two-run shot an estimated 424 feet to straightaway center field for a 3-2 lead. It was his second.

"Obviously I'd like to be able to have a redo on a couple pitches, but they were not bad pitches," Bumgarner said. "Obviously now looking back they were probably the wrong pitches, but I mean I felt pretty good for the most part for especially the first time back in three months or whatever."

The ace said he "tried to be all business about it.Any negativity is just going to make it worse, so you have got to try to find a way to make the best out of whatever situation you are in."

Sanchez, the backup catcher, found out during batting practice Saturday that he would start in place of Austin Hedges, who took a foul ball off his mask the night before.

Several hours later, after going 0 for 3 against Bumgarner, Sanchez hit a no-doubt, two-run homer off Steven Okert to lift the Padres.

Four of the switch-hitting Sanchez's seven hits this year are homers -- three as a pinch-hitter and then Saturday night's walk-off.

"It's fun seeing him succeed," manager Andy Green said. "He's been such a good teammate and he's had such limited opportunity to play. He's been big for us. He's been worth like probably three wins.

"You look at this stat line, you would not come away thinking, `How is that guy winning baseball games for you?' He's done it over and over," Green said.

Sanchez came in hitting .154 in 39 at-bats in just 29 games.

"It's not an easy job, but I know my job. I have to be ready every single day," Sanchez said. "If something happens, I have to be ready."

Blash started the winning rally when he singled leading off the ninth against Cory Gearrin (3-3) and advanced on Erick Aybar's sacrifice bunt against Okert.

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