SAN FRANCISCO - Madison Bumgarner lends to this time of year what Michael Jordan once lent to the NBA Finals:
The aura of the inevitable.
What Jordan was to June, Bumgarner is to October. The latest example was the lefthander's dominance Sunday night as he pitched a four-hitter in the Giants' 5-0 victory over the Royals in Game 5 of the World Series in front of 43,087 orange-clad fans at AT&T Park.
"He didn't have any stressful innings," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "This guy was right on all night. When this guy is on, it's fun to watch."
Brandon Crawford drove in three runs as the Giants took a three-games-to-two lead in the best-of-seven series, which continues Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.
Giants righthander Jake Peavy, who will face Royals rookie righthander Yordano Ventura, will attempt to give San Francisco its third title in five years.
"We feel good about our matchups," Royals manager Ned Yost said of Game 6 and a possible Game 7, one in which Bochy said Bumgarner likely would be available out of the bullpen. "We've got to walk the tightrope right now without a net, but our guys aren't afraid of walking the tightrope without a net. We fall off and we're dead."
As big a reason as any for the Giants' potential mini-dynasty during the last five years is the 25-year-old Bumgarner. He allowed only one runner to reach second base, retired the final nine batters (and 14 of the final 15), struck out eight and walked none in his complete game.
Bumgarner, who allowed one run in seven innings in winning Game 1, became the first pitcher in World Series history to throw a shutout with no walks and at least eight strikeouts.
In four career World Series appearances, he has allowed one run, 12 hits and five walks in 31 innings, a 0.29 ERA and 0.55 WHIP.
"You can't really say too much," Royals leftfielder Alex Gordon said, according to the Kansas City Star. "He's pitched against us twice, and pretty much shoved both times."
Said Yost: "He was fantastic again."
It was the 16th shutout in World Series history in which no walks were allowed and the first since the Royals' Bret Saberhagen did it in Game 7 of the 1985 series.
"I felt great all night," said Bumgarner, who is 7-3 with a 2.27 ERA in 13 career postseason appearances and has a 1.13 ERA in this postseason (six earned runs in 472/3 innings. "Really, this time of year, it's not too hard to go out there and feel good."
Royals starter James Shields, who brought a 7.11 ERA in this postseason into the game, was good but not good enough, allowing two runs and eight hits in six innings.
The Giants added three runs in the eighth against Kelvin Herrera and Wade Davis on Juan Perez's two-run double off the top of the wall in center, just inches away from a three-run homer, and Crawford's RBI single.
The Giants gave Bumgarner the only run he needed in the second. Hunter Pence singled sharply past shortstop Alcides Escobar and lefthanded-hitting Brandon Belt followed with a bunt single, against the shift, to the left side. Travis Ishikawa's fly to center allowed both runners to move up and Crawford's grounder to second made it 1-0.
The Giants added a run in the fourth when Pablo Sandoval singled and eventually scored on Crawford's flared single to center. The 2-0 lead for Bumgarner might as well have been 20-0.
"To do what he's done," Bochy said, "is pretty historic, I think."