Staying in the California League after a rocky performance his last time out, Madison Bumgarner looked like his old self again.
San Francisco's ace allowed an unearned run on two hits with eight strikeouts in six innings as Class A Advanced San Jose fell to Modesto, 4-2, on Monday night. It's expected to be Bumgarner's final rehab start before returning to the big leagues this weekend.
"I treated today a little bit like the last game of [Spring Training] where you start to lock it in and make pitches," he said after his outing at San Jose Municipal Stadium. "I felt good today. We were able to do that. I didn't miss many spots today."
Video: San Jose's Bumgarner rings up eighth K
Bumgarner made his fourth rehab start since June 25 following an unsightly outing last Wednesday. The left-hander slogged through four innings for San Jose, allowing nine runs on nine hits -- including four homers -- in that loss to Rancho Cucamonga.
Monday's effort was much different.
"The main goal here is to get your arm strength back and get your arm in shape, body in shape to throw 100 pitches," he said. "That's what I focused on for the first half, and then on the side, we've been working on off-speed stuff. I incorporated that in a little more today like a real game situation."
Gameday box score
Bumgarner retired the first seven batters and worked out of a jam in the third inning. Willie Argo singled with one out and stole second with two gone. After Mariners No. 13 prospect Braden Bishop worked the Nuts' only walk against Bumgarner, Eric Filia reached on a fielding error by first baseman Jonah Arenado. Argo scored on the play, but Arenado caught Bishop at third to end the inning.
Gianfranco Wawoe singled with two outs in the fourth and was the last man to reach against Bumgarner, who retired nine of the final 10 batters faced, including the last seven in a row. The 2007 first-round pick threw 58 of 86 pitches for strikes.
Bumgarner's season was derailed in April when he suffered bruised ribs and a sprained AC joint in his throwing shoulder after crashing a rented dirt bike on an off day in Colorado. The lefty made just four starts before landing on the disabled list, where he's been for more than two months. Without their ace, the Giants have fallen to last in the National League West with a 34-56 record.
Video: San Jose's Bumgarner finishes six innings
"It [stinks]," Bumgarner said. "I put myself in this spot. I wish I wouldn't have, but I did. I'm trying to make the best of it.
"From the first time I went to the hospital, it sounded like it is a big deal because it's in your throwing shoulder. But out of all the possibilities, we were pretty happy with the results, if that's the right way to put it. I tried not to let that doubt creep into my head throughout the whole process, just go with it and do everything I could do."
The Giants plan to put Bumgarner back in their rotation Saturday in San Diego. He's planning on that, as well.
"As long as we bounce back from this one good and everything comes out of it OK, then I believe so, yeah," he said. "It just depends on that."
Bumgarner said he'll likely throw a bullpen session Wednesday as the final step before returning to the Majors.
"I'm looking forward to it," he said. "I'm excited. I'm ready to help contribute like I should've been doing this whole time."
Joey Curletta belted two homers for Modesto after Bumgarner's exit. The first baseman clubbed a solo shot off Caleb Simpson (0-5) to lead off the seventh and added a two-run blast in the ninth against Michael Cederoth.