KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Madison Bumgarner and the San Francisco Giants put a sudden stop to the Kansas City Royals’ perfect postseason roll.
Bumgarner pitched shutout ball into the seventh inning, Hunter Pence homered early and the Giants showed off their October poise, shutting down the Royals 7-1 Tuesday night in the World Series opener.
From the get-go, the Giants simply did everything right to win their seventh straight World Series game. There’s a reason Bumgarner and these guys in black and orange are trying for their third title in five years.
The Royals, meanwhile, looked nothing like the fresh team that had become baseball’s darlings by starting the playoffs with eight wins in a row — pitching, hitting and fielding all deserted them.
The fates seemed to change from the very first batter, in fact. Gregor Blanco led off with a soft line drive to center field and AL Championship Series MVP Lorenzo Cain charged, then backed off as the ball fell for a single. It would’ve taken a near miracle to catch it, but that’s the kind of play the Royals had been making on a routine basis.
Moments later, Pence’s two-run homer highlighted a three-run burst in the first inning against James Shields. Nicknamed “Big Game James,” he once again failed to live up to that billing and left in the fourth when the Giants made it 5-0.
By then, Royals fans who had waited since 1985 for the Series to come to town had gone silent. Or, worse, they were booing while small “Let’s go, Giants!” chants echoed through Kauffman Stadium.
Just like that, what many figured would be a tight matchup had turned into a mismatch. And it was a good omen for the Giants — the Game 1 winner has won 15 of the last 17 World Series.
The Royals will try to get even in Game 2 on Wednesday night when rookie Yordano Ventura starts against veteran Jake Peavy.
Bumgarner added to his sparkling World Series résumé, improving to 3-0 and extending his scoreless streak to 21 innings before Salvador Perez homered with two outs in the seventh.
“He’s special. He’s got that flair for the spectacular,” Pence said. “He never makes it bigger than it is. He just gets out there and competes.”
The 25-year-old called MadBum by his teammates was in trouble only once. Down 3-0 in the third, the Royals loaded the bases with a two-out walk and cleanup man Eric Hosmer stepped to the plate, but grounded out on the first pitch.
Bumgarner went on to stretch his road postseason scoreless streak to a record 32 2-3 innings as the Giants cruised. He pitched three-hit ball for seven innings, struck out five and walked one.
“He was dynamite. I mean, man, was he good tonight,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “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.”
Michael Morse, getting to play as the designated hitter in the AL park, had an RBI single that finished Shields, and reliever Danny Duffy walked Blanco with the bases loaded.
Rookie Joe Panik hit an RBI triple that bounced past usually reliable right fielder Nori Aoki in the seventh and scored on a single by October force Pablo Sandoval. The MVP of the 2012 World Series triumph, Sandoval also had an RBI double in the first that extended his postseason streak of reaching base to 24 straight games.
Pence also doubled and walked.
Before the game, the mood at the ballpark was positively giddy. Ushers greeted fans with “Welcome to the World Series!” and some hot-dog vendors high-fived each other behind the counter. Yet the Giants wrecked that fun, and won for the 16th time in their last 18 postseason games.
“We didn’t expect to come in here and sweep the San Francisco Giants,” Yost said. “We knew that this was a series that was going to go deep. We know how tough they are. They swung the bats really well.”
The Royals had won 11 straight in the postseason dating to their 1985 championship run, one short of the record held by a pair of New York Yankees clubs. But it was clear from the start that this would not be their night, and not even the little things went well.
Early in the game, Kansas City third base coach Mike Jirschele retrieved a foul ball and tried to flip it into the stands. Instead, his toss fell well short of reaching the seats.
Giants: Peavy lost 12 straight decisions this season, spanning his July trade from Boston to the Giants. ... The 33-year-old is 1-3 with a 7.03 ERA in seven postseason starts, including an outing for the Red Sox in last year’s World Series. He beat Washington in the NL Division Series and was pulled after four innings vs. St. Louis in the NL Championship Series. ... Royals DH Billy Butler is 14 for 33 (.424) with three HRs off Peavy.
Royals: The 23-year-old Ventura will become the first rookie to start a World Series game at any position for the Royals. No Giants hitter has ever faced the right-hander with a 100 mph heater. ... Ventura pitched well in a start vs. the Angels in the ALDS and struggled vs. Baltimore in an ALCS start.