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 in the Giants' 5-0 victory over the Royals in Game 5 of the World Series Sunday night at AT&T Park.
Bumgarner pitched a four-hitter and 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.
As big a reason as any for the Giants' potential mini-dynasty in that time is the 25-year-old Bumgarner, who 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.
In four career World Series appearances, he has allowed one run, 12 hits and five walks in 31 innings.
Bumgarner entered the game 6-3 with a 2.54 ERA in 12 career postseason appearances, including 3-1 with a 1.40 ERA in five starts this postseason.
Royals starter James Shields 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 and Crawford's RBI single.
The Giants gave Bumgarner the only run he needed in the second. Hunter Pence improved to 8-for-16 in the series with a sharp single 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 tacked on in the fourth. Pablo Sandoval led off with a single to left, improving him to 7-for-20 in this series and making it 26 out of his last 27 career postseason games in which he's reached base safely. Shields struck out Pence and Belt, but Ishikawa grounded a single past Escobar at short. Crawford then flared a 2-and-2 curveball for an RBI single just in front of hard-charging centerfielder Jarrod Dyson, who mishandled it for a moment after it hit the ground.
Bumgarner retired his 10th straight batter in the top of the fifth when Mike Moustakas lined out. Omar Infante snapped that string with a bloop double to left-center in front of a diving Ishikawa, but Bumgarner struck out Dyson and Shields.
That made the Royals 0-for-6 with six strikeouts with men on base to that point.
The Giants nearly put the game away in the fifth, but rightfielder Lorenzo Cain added to his defensive highlight reel this postseason to turn them away.
After Joe Panik singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch, Buster Posey walked and Shields struck out Sandoval on a fastball up in the zone for the second out. Pence then swung at a first-pitch cutter and rocketed it into the gap in right-center. Cain, running full speed, chased it down on the track, saving two runs.
After Herrera allowed singles by Sandoval and Pence to begin the eighth, Davis struck out Belt but allowed Perez's two-run double off the top of the wall in center, just inches away from a three-run homer. Perez continued to third on Escobar's throwing error and scored on Crawford's single.