San Francisco powered out the weirdest seven-run seventh inning of the year to beat the White Sox 7-1 and get Jake Peavy his first win in a Giants uniform.
Chicago got on the board first in the top of the fourth when Adam Dunn launched his first-ever splash hit into McCovey Cove. It was also the first splash hit by a White Sox player, and it put Peavy in jeopardy of yet another loss despite a strong start. The San Francisco starter went seven innings, allowing four hits, three walks, three strikeouts, and just the lone run. He threw 100 pitches, 64 strikes, and sat in the dugout in line for his fourth loss in a row as a Giant.
But then came the bottom of the seventh,and with it some strange, strange baseball. Michael Morse roped a one-out single into right and was lifted for pinch-runner Gregor Blanco, and Adam Duvall’s bloop single moved Blanco to third. Joe Panik then broke his bat on a weak grounder up the first base line, and Blanco was out at home plate.
However, Bruce Bochy challenged that Tyler Flowers was blocking home plate and, in line with the new MLB rule, the call was overturned after a nearly five-minute review. The game was tied, and White Sox manager Robin Ventura lost it, springing out of the dugout, spewing some, um, choice words at the umpire, and kicking dirt all over home plate in one of the most spirited ejections in awhile. Needless to say, he disagreed with the ruling.
“It’s a vague rule, and it obviously went against us today. You know, if you just look at the spirit of the rule, of what they were trying to do and what it’s actually doing, it’s a joke. It goes either way. It’s a toss-up every time a play happens at home plate…Playing baseball, we made the play, and the guy was out.”
Blanco, however, respectfully disagrees.
“Definitely, he was blocking the plate. The rule is, if he was blocking the plate before he got the ball, it’s safe.”
Just for fun, he insisted on a review of whether or not Duvall should’ve ended up on third, and after a quick look, Duvall was sent back to second. After Brandon Crawford flied out and pinch-hitter Joaquin Arias took a four-pitch walk (!), Angel Pagan delivered the big hit, dropping a single into left and giving the Giants a 3-1 lead. Hunter Pence and Buster Posey followed it up with RBI singles of their own before Pablo Sandoval hit a ball into right-center that Dunn dropped, scoring two more runs.
Suddenly, it was 7-1, and it marked the first time that San Francisco has scored seven runs in an inning at home since the 2010 World Series against the Texas Rangers. Peavy was awarded his first win since late April (19 starts) and his first as a Giant. But he insists that he’s not concerned with his own numbers, just helping the team.
“I have nothing personally to prove in the game anymore. It’s certainly nice to get that monkey off your back, so to speak, but for me it wasn’t on my back, it was just something, a conversation piece. Everything has a expiration date. I knew I wasn’t gonna lose and continue to lose and continue to lose.”
The offensive outburst couldn’t have come at a better time, as the Giants have hobbled through August. They’d lost their previous five games, being outscored 22-9. Coming into Wednesday, they were a season-high six games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the West. After having the best record in baseball and being nine-and-a-half games up in the division, the Giants have gone 21-36 since June 9, the third-worst record in the Majors. But perhaps Wednesday’s weirdness was just what the doctor ordered.
“When your offense is struggling, you need a break somewhere.” Bruce Bochy said. “It can be a bad hop, a blooper that falls in, anything to loosen them up and take some pressure off of them…Sometimes it takes something strange to break out the offense, and we got some big two-out hits to put the game away.”
With the Dodgers playing Wednesday night, the Giants currently sit five-and-a-half back. They’ll have an off day tomorrow before welcoming in the Phillies for a three-game set on Friday night. Cole Hamels (6-6, 2.37) will take on Madison Bumgarner (13-9, 3.22).