The Giants cruised to a 7-1 victory over the Royals in the first game of the World Series.
What’s the headline? Madison Bumgarner gave up a run.
I know. It’s hard to believe. But with two outs in the seventh, Royals catcher Salvador Perez took a hack at a 1-2 offering from the big left-hander and deposited the ball in the Giants’ bullpen, behind the left-field wall.
And so ended one of the most impressive streaks of pitching in baseball history. Before Perez became the answer to a trivia question, Bumgarner had not allowed a run in three World Series starts, dating back to his first appearance in 2010.
The 25-year-old country boy also had not allowed a single run in 32 2/3 innings of postseason ball on the road. That’s a major-league record. The next best guy, Art Nehf of the 1920s Giants, went 23 straight.
“Bum has great poise out there,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “And he showed it tonight. He doesn’t get flustered, and he keeps coming at you.”
Putting the numbers aside, Bumgarner simply dominated in yet another huge game for the Giants, much like he’s done his entire career. You can take Clayton Kershaw, David Price and Stephen Strasburg, stack them up, one on top of the other, and they don’t measure up to the man they call MadBum — the man who delivers when it matters most.
And he made it look easy against a Royals team that had not lost a single game in this postseason.
Bumgarner had only one tough inning, the third, when he escaped a two-on, nobody-out jam.
From there on in, he mostly glided — his big, sweeping delivery pounding the strike zone like a metronome, the Royals’ batters making flimsy contact and often grounding into easy outs.
The crowd at Kauffman Stadium fell into a lull, and Game 1 of the World Series took on the feel of a lazy summer game between two teams out of the pennant race. The Giants had jumped to a 5-0 lead in the early innings, and 40,459 in attendance were sitting dumbfounded.
By the sixth, Bumgarner had retired nine straight, growing stronger as the game dragged on. That’s when Royals first baseman Eric Hosmser squared up a pitch and smashed a line drive up the middle. Bumgarner knocked it down and threw to first, from his knees, for the last out. Side retired. Ten straight. Hope quashed.
Back in San Francisco, Giants fans smiled and nodded. Bumgarner doesn’t lose in the World Series. He doesn’t even give up any runs.
Until Tuesday. Nobody’s perfect.
By the time he left the game in Kansas City, Bumgarner had thrown seven innings, giving up three hits and one run, striking out five while walking only one. If it wasn’t for one ill-advised pitch to a guy who was hitting .118 this postseason going into the World Series, MadBum might still be out there, throwing strikes. Blowing snot rockets. Making it look easy.
“Bumgarner, he was dynamite,” said Royals manager Ned Yost. “I mean, man, was he good tonight. We had an opportunity in the third, and I was really impressed with the way he fed off our aggressiveness and just worked up the ladder to get out of that jam. But he was nails tonight.”
If you want to know what makes this young man so good, look no further than that jam in the third inning. The Giants were up 3-0, but the Royals had mounted their first real challenge of the night. After the first two batters got on, one by error, Bumgarner shut the Royals down with two strikeouts and a weak grounder, leaving the bases loaded in his wake.
It was a miraculous escape act, worthy of a magician. And it showed some serious intestinal fortitude.
“He did a really nice job the one inning,” Bochy said. “He bowed his neck and made some great pitches to get out of that. I mean, they’re getting back in the game, but he kept them from scoring.”
It was a remarkable night all around for the Giants. Clutch hitting and great pitching added up to a blowout. The ball now goes to Jake Peavy, who will try to follow Bumgarner’s act in Game 2, here in Kansas City. Good luck with that.
True to his North Carolina roots and his no-nonsense demeanor, Bumgarner was nonplussed by his performance, or the records he set. It was just another day at the office for the World Series Wonder.
“I felt pretty good,” Bumgarner said. “I know that’s a boring answer, but for me, that’s all it is.”
“I’m not here trying to set records and keep streaks going and whatever, but you do know about it. A World Series game is not something you exactly forget about.”
You’re right, Madison. No one’s going to forget that gem.
Al Saracevic is the sports editor of The San Francisco Chronicle. E-mail: asaracevic@ sfchronicle.com Twitter: @alsaracevic