Bumgarner's legend grows: Giants win it all

We got our classic Game 7. We got a heroic performance for the ages. It was the postseason of Madison Bumgarner, it was the World Series of Madison Bumgarner and it was his relief performance in Game 7 -- five scoreless innings -- that clinched the third World Series title in five years for the San Francisco Giants.

Mathewson ... Burdette ... Koufax ... Gibson ... Lolich ... Schilling ... Johnson ... Bumgarner. Add his name to that list of World Series legends.

Five moments from the Giants' 3-2 win over the Kansas City Royals:

1. Madison Bumgarner enters the game.

Back in 1958, Bob Turley threw a shutout in Game 5, got the save in Game 6 and pitched 6⅓ innings of relief in Game 7 to get the win. In 1965, Sandy Koufax pitched a three-hit shutout in Game 7 on two days of rest. In 2001, Randy Johnson won Game 6 and then won Game 7 in relief. It was that kind of performance for Bumgarner, who followed his 117-pitch effort in Game 5 with five innings of nearly flawless relief in the Series finale.

Before the game, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Bumgarner could throw 50 to 60 pitches. He threw 68. After allowing a single to the first batter he faced, Bumgarner retired 14 in a row before Alex Gordon singled with two outs in the ninth and advanced to third when the ball skipped over the glove of center fielder Gregor Blanco. There was some belief that Gordon could have tried to score, but that photo above pretty clearly shows he would have been out easily unless Brandon Crawford threw a one-hopper that skipped past Buster Posey. ... Given the way Bumgarner was throwing, maybe it was worth the effort. Would certainly have made for a dramatic ending.

"I wasn't sure what happened," Bumgarner said. "I didn't see it. But I was starting to get a little nervous. He can run a little bit and that's a big outfield, so I was just wanting someone to get it and get it in."

Still, the Royals were 90 feet from tying the game. Closer Santiago Casilla was warming up? Take out Bumgarner? No way.

He threw high fastballs to Salvador Perez, six in a row, all out of the strike zone. He struck out Eric Hosmer on a high fastball to start the inning, then got Billy Butler to foul out on a high fastball. He talked about this after the game: "You know what, we know they're an aggressive team and that situation certainly helped push their aggressiveness. I knew Perez was going to want to do something big. ... It's a little bit higher than high, I guess, and fortunately I was able to get some past him."

Perez popped up the sixth one in foul territory on the third-base side, Pablo Sandoval squeezed the ball and Bumgarner got a giant hug from catcher Buster Posey. World champs.

It was the fourth World Series to end with the tying run at third -- 1946 (Harry Brecheen gets Tom McBride to ground out) and 1962 (Willie McCovey lines out) ended in seven games while 1992 (Otis Nixon out trying to bunt) ended in six games.

2. Joe Panik makes the play of the World Series.

Play of the World Series? Sure. Heck, call it the play of the season considering the stakes.

With Jeremy Affeldt on in relief in the third, Lorenzo Cain led off with a line-drive single to right field following an impressive eight-pitch at-bat. Eric Hosmer then grounded a fastball up the middle that Panik made a fabulous diving stop on and glove flipped to second. Brandon Crawford then completed the double play with Hosmer diving into first.

Hosmer was originally ruled safe, but after a long review of 2 minutes, 57 seconds, the play was overturned and Hosmer was ruled out (correctly, it appeared).

Think of the great defensive plays in World Series history: Willie Mays running forever in 1954, Brooks Robinson on Lee May in 1970, Graig Nettles for the Yankees in 1978, Devon White's fabulous grab for the Blue Jays in 1993. This play was right up there.

3. Michael Morse, World Series hero, supporting role.

Before the game, Royals manager Ned Yost said about Jeremy Guthrie, "If he can get us through four, we're going to be in great shape. If he can get through five, that's even going to be better."

Prophetic words? Sandoval led off the fourth inning with a soft bouncer to the right of second baseman Omar Infante, who barehanded the ball, slipped slightly and couldn't quite get enough on the throw to get Sandoval. That's what speed does. Hunter Pence, having a terrific World Series, then lined his second hit of the game, a line drive to center field. Kelvin Herrera started warming up. Yost let Guthrie go one batter more and Brandon Belt hit a fly ball to deep left field, Sandoval tagging up and successfully testing Gordon's powerful arm. Wonder how many times Sandoval tagged from second to third on a fly ball to left in the regular season?

That was it for Guthrie. Did Yost wait too long? Should he have pitched Brandon Finnegan to start the fourth inning, turning Sandoval around to his weaker left side? Should he have been happy to get three innings from Guthrie with the game tied? Was he too locked in to the four innings? Why didn't he bring in Herrera to face Belt since Guthrie has such a big platoon split against left-handers? All questions to debate.

So in came Herrera and give Morse credit: He muscled an 0-2, 99-mph fastball into right field for the go-ahead single. Pence, who for some reason had failed to tag up on the Belt fly ball, hustled into third, but was left stranded when Brandon Crawford struck out looking and Juan Perez grounded out.

Giants up 3-2. Morse -- signed as a free agent after hitting .215 with Seattle and Baltimore in 2013, sidelined almost all of September with an oblique injury and relegated to the bench and DH duties in the World Series -- had his second RBI of the game. One of Brian Sabean's veteran free agent signings paid off again.

4. Pence and Belt deliver two-strike hits to get Giants going in the second.

Guthrie had cruised through an easy 10-pitch first inning, but then hit Sandoval with an 0-1 pitch leading off the second. He got ahead of Pence with two strikes, but then Pence hit an 0-2 changeup hard on the ground into left field. If it seems like Pence has done a lot of damage in this postseason with two strikes, you're right: That base hit made him 7-for-14 with two strikes. Incredible.

Of course, some of that has to do with the fact that Guthrie doesn't have put-away stuff. He had no strikeouts in his Game 3 start and among 88 qualified starters during the regular season he was 84th in strikeout rate.

Belt then followed with another two-strike hit, hitting a hard grounder into right field to load the bases. The Kansas City bullpen remained curiously silent as Morse and Crawford hit sacrifice flies to make it 2-0. It could have been worse for the Royals as one more hit and an idle bullpen could have led to a 4-0 margin before a reliever even got into the game. So Guthrie at least limited the damage to the two runs.

5. Royals rock Tim Hudson in the second.

Then came the Royals as they knocked out Hudson a few minutes later. Billy Butler singled up the middle and then Gordon lined a first-pitch sinker into the right-center gap. Country Breakfast chugged all the way around from first -- not the quickest first-to-home sprint you'll ever see with no outs, but Butler slid home safely ahead of the relay throw.

Hudson then hit Salvador Perez on the first pitch, a two-seamer that got him in the kneecap or right above; he stayed in after a long visit from the trainer. Hey, it's Game 7 of the World Series; it would probably take a broken leg to knock Perez from the game. Mike Moustakas then lined out to medium-deep left field, Gordon making a great read to tag up from second and beat Juan Perez's throw, which proved to be a key play when Infante lined out to center field, Gordon beating Blanco's weak throw from center that hit the pitcher's mound. Alcides Escobar followed with a hard single and that was it for Hudson: The first Game 7 starter since Turley in 1960 not to finish at least two innings. (Livan Hernandez went just two-plus in a loss for the Giants in 2002.)

Affeldt got out of the jam, but the game was tied and the K was rocking in joy.