Once again, Madison Bumgarner was the man in Game 7.
Once again, Madison Bumgarner was the man in Game 7. (USATSI)

For the third time in the last five years, the Giants are the champions of baseball. They beat the Royals by the score of 3-2 in Game 7 on Wednesday night (box score) thanks to their bullpen and the middle of the order. It was a crispy and exciting game after five blowouts in the first six games of the series. Let's review Game 7, quick hits style.

Hero: The Giants bullpen as a whole, but especially Madison Bumgarner. Like Jake Peavy in Game 6, Tim Hudson's outing was very short...

...and manager Bruce Bochy had to dip into his relief crew early. First out of the 'pen was Jeremy Affeldt, who cleaned up Hudson's mess in the second and threw scoreless third and fourth innings as well. It was the first time he recorded seven or more outs in a game since July 2012.

After Affeldt, Bochy went for the kill with Bumgarner, who started Game 5 on Sunday. Bumgarner was a little wild in the fifth inning but he quickly settled down and looked like his usually dominant self. Omar Infante welcomed him to the game with a leadoff single, then Bumgarner retired the next 14 men he faced and 15 of the next 16 to close out the game.

Five scoreless innings, one single, no walks, three strikeouts. Absurd. Bumgarner gave us one of the greatest postseason performances we'll ever see this October.

Hero II: A game like this doesn't deserve a goat, so let's have a second hero. It's the 4-5-6-7 hitters in the Giants lineup, who created all three runs. Mike Morse and Brandon Crawford drove in San Francisco's first two runs with sacrifice flies in the second, then Morse singled in their third run in the fourth.

Crawford chipped in the sacrifice fly, but Pablo Sandoval, Hunter Pence and Brandon Belt did all the heavy lifting with multiple hits each. Morse had his single and the sac fly. Those 4-5-6-7 hitters went a combined 8-for-14 (.571) with a hit-by-pitch, three runs scored and three runs driven in. The rest of the Giants lineup went 0-for-18 with Crawford's sac fly.

Turning point: Morse's little broken bat bloop to right field to score the team's third run. Kelvin Herrera busted him inside with a two-strike fastball, but Morse was able to fight it off the other way. I wouldn't call it the prettiest piece of hitting but it got the job done. It was Morse's brute strength against Herrera's high-octane fastball. With Bumgarner looming and the Giants taking the lead, the Royals suddenly had a very big hill to climb.

It was over when: Bumgarner walked through that bullpen gate to start the fifth inning. I mean, yeah, it was a one-run game and Alex Gordon was standing on third base when the game ended thanks to a brutal outfield error, but Bumgarner slammed the door with authority to preserve the win. Here's the win probability chart:

Source: FanGraphs

The graphs gives the Royals too much credit after the fourth inning. Their win probability was close to zero after Bumgarner entered the game. He was that good.

Up Next: Up next? There is no up next. The 2014 season is over. Four long months of winter -- and trades and free agent signings and all that jazz -- are up next before spring training opens across Florida and Arizona in February.

So, rather than focus on what's next, look back on Game 7 with our live blog. Read below for our chronicle of Game 7.

Update, 11:23pm ET:

The Giants are champions of baseball. Bumgarner closes out the 3-2 win with a five-inning (!) save. He's pretty good.

Update, 11:01pm ET:

Three more easy outs for Bumgarner. He's locked in. The Giants are up 3-2 and are three outs away from being crowned champions.

Update, 10:45pm ET:

Bumgarner has retired nine straight batters after allowing a single to the first man he faced. The Giants are up 3-2 in the top of the eighth. They're six outs away from their third World Series title in the last five years.

Update, 10:34pm ET:

Some perspective on Bumgarner's dominance this postseason:

Update, 10:24pm ET:

Bumgarner is in the game and he's thrown two shutout innings so far. He started out a little shaky with his command but has settled down quite nicely. It's 3-2 Giants in the seventh.

Update, 9:57pm ET:

One more nugget on Affeldt:

Update, 9:46pm ET:

With the help of another double play, Affleldt throws a scoreless fourth inning. He's recorded seven big outs and settled things down after Hudson's rocky start. It's 3-2 Giants.

Update, 9:42 ET:

Some minor and obscure history:

Update, 9:41pm ET:

Bochy's into it. I mean really into it:

Update, 9:37pm ET:

The Giants have retaken the lead. Sandoval beat out an infield single, moved to second on Pence single, moved to third on Belt's long fly ball, then scored on Morse's broken bat single against Herrera. Like Gordon in the second inning, Sandoval smarty tagging up at second and moving to third on the fly ball created a run. It's 3-2 Giants in the fourth.

Update, 9:34pm ET:

You knew this was coming. Here's the ultra-important GIF of Butler scoring all the way from first on Gordon's double (via @cjzero):

Look at that man run!

Update, 9:32pm ET:

Thanks to this nifty double play by Panik and Crawford, Affeldt escaped a potential jam in the third inning (via @cjzero):

Hosmer was initially called safe at first, but Bochy challenged and the wall was overturned. As you can see, Hosmer was indeed out.

Update, 9:00pm ET:

Is this bad? This seems bad:

Update, 8:57pm ET:

Hudson is done after 1 2/3 innings. Bochy isn't messing around and I don't blame him. Hudson wasn't fooling anyone. Jeremy Affeldt pitched out of the second inning to keep it 2-2. My guess is he throws the third inning as well and then Bumgarner comes on.

Update, 8:52pm ET:

Infante ties the game with a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Gordon from third. Gordon moved up on Moustakas' fly ball to left field with some heady base-running. It's 2-2 in the second.

Update, 8:45pm ET:

The Royals answered back in the span of three pitches in the bottom of the second. Butler singled back up the middle and Gordon drove him in with a double into the right-center field gap. It's 2-1 Giants. Butler scored all the way from first base. I can't imagine that happened often this year. Or ever.

Update, 8:44pm ET:

Pence singled in an 0-2 count to load the bases with no outs in the second. That gives me an excuse to post this:

Update: 8:39pm ET:

Crawford gets another run in with a sac fly of his own. The Giants are up 2-0 in the second. Royals manager Ned Yost said Kelvin Herrera would be the first man out of the bullpen, but Brandon Finnegan is the one warming.

Update, 8:38pm ET:

After a hit-by-pitch and two singles to open the second inning, Morse drove in the game's first run with a hard-hit sacrifice fly to right field. Sandoval trotted in from third. Giants still have first and third with one out, and the Royals bullpen is starting to heat up.

Update, 8:29pm ET:

Hudson works around a one-out walk to Aoki and fires a scoreless first. He threw 19 pitches. The Fox broadcast noted Hudson is the oldest pitcher to start a World Series Game 7 at 39 years and 107 days. He's 15 days older than Roger Clemens was in 2001.

Update: 8:15pm ET:

Guthrie cruises through an easy 1-2-3 first inning on 10 pitches. Kauffman Stadium is loud. LOUD loud.

Update, 8:04pm ET:

Generations of fans are in the house:

Update, 8:01pm ET:

Looks like there's a Mets fan in Kansas City for Game 7:

Update, 7:04pm ET:

Geez, that was one heck of a first date:

Update, 6:54pm ET:

One last check on the weather, courtesy of weather.com:

Yep, looks like World Series weather to me.

Update, 6:42pm ET:

Ex-Royals right-hander Bret Saberhagen -- MVP of the 1985 World Series -- will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before Game 7.

Update, 3:29pm ET:

It's only natural that we start our live blog with the starting lineups. First, the visiting Giants:

  1. CF Gregor Blanco
  2. 2B Joe Panik
  3. C Buster Posey
  4. 3B Pablo Sandoval
  5. RF Hunter Pence
  6. 1B Brandon Belt
  7. DH Michael Morse
  8. SS Brandon Crawford
  9. LF Juan Perez

    RHP Tim Hudson

The Giants have opted for Perez's defense over Travis Ishikawa's offense in left field even though there's a right-hander on the mound. Ishikawa hasn't been great at the plate this postseason -- outside of his pennant-clinching walk-off homer against the Cardinals, of course -- and his defense is pretty bad, so this is a wise move by manager Bruce Bochy.

Now, the home Royals:

  1. SS Alcides Escobar
  2. RF Norichika Aoki
  3. CF Lorenzo Cain
  4. 1B Eric Hosmer
  5. DH Billy Butler
  6. LF Alex Gordon
  7. C Salvador Perez
  8. 3B Mike Moustakas
  9. 2B Omar Infante

    RHP Jeremy Guthrie

This is a Game 7, remember, so all hands are on deck. That means both Game 5 starters -- Madison Bumgarner and James Shields -- will be available out of the bullpen. Since Jake Peavy threw only 42 pitches in Game 6, maybe we'll see him at some point as well. In extra innings or something. I'm sure the Giants hope it doesn't come to that.