NEW YORK -- It's been a busy stretch for the Giants. In a span of eight days, the front office called up four players, optioned three to the minors, released three, brought one off the disabled list and added one via a trade.
Madison Bumgarner did his part to lighten the load for an overworked clubhouse staff, throwing a shutout that was so dazzlingly efficient that they probably won't even have to wash his road jersey. Bumgarner allowed just two hits in getting through a 9-0 shutout of the New York Mets. He threw 94 pitches, only 19 of which were balls.
"He's pretty tough when he's like that," catcher Buster Posey said.
Manager Bruce Bochy's first thought was shorter. "Wow," he said, smiling and shaking his head.
Two days after his 25th birthday, Bumgarner had overwhelming command of his fastball and used it to strike out 10 and limit the light-hitting Mets to a leadoff walk, a third-inning double and a seventh-inning single.
"It's hard to pitch a better game," Bochy said. "He was efficient and stayed under control for nine innings. That's one of his better games."
It was Bumgarner's second career shutout and fourth complete game, and it was the kind of performance that once again makes it clear that it's probably a matter of when, not if, Bumgarner will put it all together one night and join Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum in the no-hit club. He threw 51 fastballs, accounting for 42 strikes and 10 swings-and-misses.
"When you're feeling good on a day like today, you can go after guys," he said. "You can get ahead early and get quick outs and get into the dugout."
The Giants spent little time with their gloves on. As Bumgarner glided through his nine innings, the lineup had one rally after another. The Giants had their second four-homer game of the season, with two coming off the bat of Hunter Pence. The right fielder had been in a 4-for-38 slump when he scalded a Bartolo Colon pitch over the left field wall in the third.
Pence's homer left the park in 3.3 seconds. Brandon Belt hit a moonshot the next inning that took 6.4 seconds to drop into the right field seats. The very different swings said the same thing about the Giants lineup: When healthy, it remains dangerous. Belt has reached base four times in his first two games back from a concussion. Posey looks refreshed since the All-Star break, and he hit a long two-run homer Sunday.
"We feel that as an offense, we've got a group of guys that can string runs together when we're clicking on all cylinders," Posey said.
None of the Giants can click quite like Pence, who goes on hot streaks few major leaguers can match. With the Giants out of the race last September, Pence had a six-game stretch where he went 13 for 25 with six homers and 19 RBIs. The Giants are right there in the National League West and wild-card races this time around, and they're hopeful Pence can jump into the driver's seat for a lineup that might be whole if Angel Pagan returns on this trip as planned.
"He's the type of player that when he does lock in, he can carry a club," Bochy said of Pence.
Pence hit a second homer in the ninth inning, giving him three runs and four RBIs. Posey had four hits, and the rest of the production was well distributed. Even Bumgarner got into the act, picking up a fifth-inning single. When he drew a walk in the seventh, Bumgarner had reached base as many times as the Mets. He scored twice while pitching a shutout and is batting .265.
"It's pretty impressive," Pence said. "Especially this year, you've seen it's not a fluke when he gets a hit or has a great at-bat. We all believe (a hit) is going to happen every time he goes out there. That's remarkable for a guy who plays once every five games."
The Giants have on occasion allowed Bumgarner to pinch-hit, but they won't go deeper down that path for fear of an injury. Bumgarner is paid to pitch, and few are better. He improved to 9-2 with a 1.58 ERA on the road this season and gave the Giants a second complete game in three days. With Ryan Vogelsong pitching nine innings in Friday's 5-1 win and Jake Peavy lasting seven in Saturday's loss, the bullpen has been needed for just one inning in New York.
"They're definitely the foundation to the success of this organization," Pence said of the starting staff. "We feed off the base. It's good to have a base like that."
Giants (Tim Hudson 8-8) at N.Y. Mets (Dillon Gee 4-4), 9:10 a.m. CSNBA