Yusmeiro Petit pitched six innings of one-run ball, establishing a Major League Baseball record by retiring his 46th consecutive batter over an eight-game span, and led the San Francisco Giants to a 4-1 victory over the visiting Colorado Rockies. Hitting his first home run at AT&T Park since Matt Cain’s perfect game, Gregor Blanco led the scoring for the Giants with a two-run shot in the second inning that almost made the water.
Petit’s line read six innings pitched, one run, four hits, with no walks and a season-high nine strikeouts. In retiring the first eight Rockies he faced, Petit surpassed Mark Buehrle’s record of 45 in a row set down, established July 29th, 2009. Ironically, it was the pitcher, Jordan Lyles, who broke up Petit’s streak, with a double in the third, and he scored the Rockies’ only run when the next batter, Charlie Blackmon, singled him home.
By getting Nolan Arenado on a fly ball to center field to lead off the second inning, Petit had already tied the National League record, set by Jim Barr of the Giants in June of 1972, and he broke it when the next batter, Corey Dickerson, struck out swinging.
In a season in which he has struggled as a starter, with an ERA of 6.32, Petit has excelled as a reliever with a 1.84 ERA. Thirteen of his consecutive 46 batters, resulted from his relief appearance of Tim Lincecum last Saturday. It’s when he seems to function best. The Giants ended up taking three of four from Colorado.
Jean Machi relieved Petit in the seventh inning, walking Corey Dickerson, but getting Brandon Barnes to hit into 4-6-3 double play. Sergio Romo pitched the eighth, and also surrendered a walk, but got out of it harmlessly. Stop me if you heard this before, but Santiago Casilla walked the lead-off batter in the ninth, DJ Lemahieu; fortunately, a fly ball, a pop-up, and an unassisted grounder to Buster Posey, settled the matter. It was especially telling because it was Casilla’s first opportunity after Wednesday night’s blown save, to jump back into the fire.
Jordan Lyles started for the Rockies and went six complete innings, giving up three runs on only four hits, while striking out five and walking three, throwing a total of 100 pitches. Besides Blanco’s blast, the Giants combined three walks, an infield single by Angel Pagan, the only Giant with more than one hit, and a sacrifice fly by Hunter Pence in the bottom of the sixth, to score one run. Pagan had three singles on the day.
The Giants added another insurance run in the eighth inning, when Andrew Susac drove in his ninth RBI in a Giants uniform, with a single to left field, knocking in Pablo Sandoval, who had led off the inning with a walk. Altogether, San Francisco had eight hits, one by each starter except for Matt Duffy and Buster Posey. It was as though the team told Buster to take the night off-we got his.
In one of baseball’s finer moments, it’s interesting to note that Gregor Blanco hit his first home run at AT&T Park, since June 13th, 2012. The significance of that? It was the game in which Matt Cain pitched his perfect game. It would seem that Blanco does his best power hitting when the Giants pitcher is also at his peak.
And make no mistake, Giants starters during the four games against the Rockies were at their peak. Jake Peavy, Madison Bumgarner, Tim Hudson and Yusmeiro Petit combined to pitch 30 innings, giving up a total of 15 hits and 3 earned runs with 35 strikeouts and 2 walks. Granted, the success has come against a weak team which struggles on the road, but the weight of each victory measures the same in the standings as those of the best teams.
The win was the Giants’ 71st of the season and drew them one game closer to Los Angeles in the loss column. With the Milwaukee Brewers coming into town for the start of a three-game series tomorrow night, the win was critically important. Having lost a tough game on Monday night, after the depressing blowout on the finale against the Nationals on Sunday, San Francisco had to win the next three against the road-challenged Rockies. And they did.