ATLANTA - Former Augusta GreenJackets ace Madison Bumgarner excelled in his postseason debut back in Georgia.
The rookie left-hander for the San Francisco Giants gave manager Bruce Bochy the quality start he was hoping for in Game 4 of the National League Division Series against the Atlanta Braves, earning the series-clinching win 3-2 on Monday night.
Bumgarner left with a 3-2 lead after six innings, giving up six hits, walking one and striking out five Braves. He was lifted at the start of the seventh inning for right-hander Santiago Casilla.
Bochy had confidence in the 21-year-old rookie to send him out with a 2-1 series lead. Bumgarner was 7-6 in 18 starts this regular season with a 3.00 ERA.
"As far as him being nervous, for 21 years old the kid has handled everything so well," Bochy said before Monday night's game at Turner Field. "A love the way he carries himself and the poise that he has. He's got a great way about him."
Bumgarner was greeted with three sharply struck outs to centerfield in the first inning. In the second he worked out of a bases-loaded jam, getting Braves pitcher Derek Lowe to pop out to right to end the threat.
The Braves fashioned a 1-0 lead in the third off three hits and two sacrifice flies.
The Giants tied it with a solo home run by Cody Ross in the top of the sixth, but the Braves answered when Brian McCann sent Bumgarner's first pitch in the bottom of the inning over the right-field wall to make it 2-1.
The Giants rallied with two runs in the top of the seventh to set Bumgarner up to earn the series-clinching win. He left the game after throwing 85 pitches, 57 of them for strikes.
The first-round draft pick went 15-3 with a 1.46 ERA in 24 starts during the regular season for the GreenJackets in 2008 and led Augusta to the best record in minor-league baseball and a South Atlantic League championship.
Bumgarner started the 2010 season at Triple-A Fresno and was called up by the Giants in late June.