Another exceptional starting pitching performance and several stellar defensive plays helped the Giants extend their win streak to a season-best five straight and beat the Milwaukee Brewers 3-1 on Saturday night.
Jake Peavy continued the dominance of the Giants’ rotation on Saturday night, and started out exceptionally strong, striking out six of his first nine batters. He finished his night with eight punchouts, one shy of his season high. As the game went on, Peavy lost a bit of control, but battled through his 7.2 innings of work. Two of his three walks came in the sixth inning, but a force out limit the damage and kept the Brewers hitless.
“Everybody’s grinding. I knew what San Francisco and the fans were about, really tonight I got a taste of that, to feel the crowd and feed off their energy,” said Peavy. ” To watch the way all nine guys on the field played to that, responded…we owe the fans that, as bad as we played when I first got here.”
It was the eighth inning that Milwaukee finally logged its first hit, when Mark Reynolds hit a single into right field. Manager Bruce Bochy kept Peavy in to strike out Juan Segura, but seeing as his starter was at 113 pitches, he decided to bring in the bullpen.
“He’s not a kid anymore…I’m sure he was running on adrenaline out there,” said Bochy. “I thought he could go 120-125 pitches, but wanted to think about the long term, to his next start,” said Bochy.
Peavy’s hitless streak was thanks in part to several fantastic plays in the field, led by shortstop Brandon Crawford. He began the fifth inning strong after a throw across the diamond, then made one of the best plays of the season in the seventh: a diving stop and glove toss to Joe Panik to complete the double play and get Peavy out of a tough spot.
“I was just happy I got there, even if we didn’t get the double play, we would get an out,” said Crawford.
“Both of those plays were tremendous, kept us in the game,” said Peavy. “That’s who we have to be as a team. I think we’re starting to find an identity and understand that we’re going to have to play on all sides of the ball.”
Pablo Sandoval had a strong throw of his own from third, and Joe Panik made an acrobatic play in the ninth that kept the Brewers to only one run.
Somewhat lost in all the excitement was Peavy’s 2000th strikeout, making him just the fifth active pitcher to have at least that many. One of those that share the honor is teammate Tim Hudson, who accomplished the feat just three games earlier.
While the Giants scored in just one inning, it was enough to support Peavy’s strong outing. All three runs came in the fourth inning, when Michel Morse knocked in Sandoval and Hunter Pence for the first two San Francisco runs. Morse then scored on a single from Brandon Crawford, who finished his night 2-for 3 with a walk on top of his excellent defensive night.
Pence extended his hit streak to a season-high 12 games, which currently second best in the majors. He’s gone 17-for-47 during that time.
With this win, the Giants secured their first series win against a team with the winning record for the fisrt time since May 29-June 1 in St. Louis.
“It feels like playoff baseball right now,” said Crawford. “It’s good to play that well against a good team.
“To be thrust into a position where we’re fighting every day, but having a chance at this division, and at the wild card, it’s exciting to come to work every day,” added Peavy.
They’ll look to sweep the Brewers tomorrow afternoon, as Madison Bumgarner faces Kyle Loshe. Bumgarner is coming off his sparking one-hitter on Tuesday, and will look to continue the Giants’ strong rotation, who have combined to allow just five runs over their last 44.2 innings.
First pitch at 1:05.