- Associated Press - Saturday, October 11, 2014

Put a bat in someone’s hands during the postseason and he can become dangerous. That goes for players who make their money on the mound rather than at the plate, too.

Might be true tonight for Madison Bumgarner.

The San Francisco lefty has already built quite a reputation for throwing well in big games. Yet even before he reached these playoffs, Bumgarner was having a slammin’ season.

Bumgarner hit two grand slams this year - one more than Derek Jeter hit in his entire 20-season career - and connected for four home runs overall.

No pitcher has homered in the postseason since Joe Blanton launched a drive for Philadelphia in Game 4 of the 2008 World Series against Tampa Bay. Pitcher-turned-outfielder Rick Ankiel homered for Atlanta in the 2010 NL Division Series.

Bumgarner could end that streak when he starts the NL Championship Series opener for the Giants at St. Louis.

Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright didn’t need any prompting about Bumgarner’s prowess.

“Yeah, he’s a very tough hitter. He’s got tremendous power. And obviously if you look at his numbers, if I’m not mistaken, he’s hitting .256 with four bombs and 15 RBIs this season,” the St. Louis ace said.

A little better than that, actually - .258 in 66 at-bats.

“I have seen him, faced him, I know he’s prolific at the plate and can hit a home run as far as anybody I have seen. He’s a big, strong fellow, so I will respect him,” Wainright said.

Bumgarner is 3 for 6 lifetime against Wainwright, all the hits singles. But Bumgarner is still looking for his first postseason hit - he’s 0 for 12, striking out nine times.

He’ll get a chance to change that when he steps into the batter’s box at Busch Stadium.

“I don’t feel like I deserve that much credit. It is nice to know that you can help your team out a little bit,” Bumgarner said.

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ON DECK

The intrigue is over: Bud Norris will start Game 2 for Baltimore.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter declined to say who it would be before the ALCS opener against Kansas City, leading to speculation it would either be Wei-Yin Chen or Norris.

After the Orioles lost 8-6 in 10 innings and played past 12:45 a.m., Showalter announced his pitcher.

“Norris. He was home by 11:30. We kept him around like we might need him. So Bud will pitch tomorrow. He was trying to beat the traffic out,” Showalter said.

“I told him to check with me before he left. I said, ‘You can shower at home. Just be standing by the door and beat the traffic out after the last pitch.’”

The last few innings were played in intermittent rain, and Showalter said the forecast called for more showers until a couple of hours before the late-afternoon start at Camden Yards.

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NUMBERS GAME

The ALCS was billed as the Royals’ speed vs. the Orioles’ power. Made sense, too - KC led the majors in stolen bases and was last in home runs, while the O’s led in homers and finished last in steals.

So what happened in the opener? The Royals hit the game’s only three homers, Baltimore swiped the only two bags.

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QUOTE OF THE DAY

“I’m a baseball fan first, and it’s funny to watch the shows and watch guys who have never met me on the show saying they’re concerned about me and this and this and my arm troubles here and arm troubles there.” - St. Louis pitcher Adam Wainwright before his start in the NLCS opener.

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