San Francisco Giants’ Jake Peavy defies odds-and Detroit Tigers


The San Francisco Giants scored once in the first, three times in the second and twice more in the third inning at Comerica Park Friday night, prior to a two-hour-and-forty-two-minute rain delay, and cruised to an 8-2 victory over the Detroit Tigers, in a rematch of the 2012 World Series.

Jake Peavy started for the Giants and pitched six complete innings, giving up two unearned runs on six hits with no walks while striking out three. His start was extraordinary due to his returning to the game after the long rain delay and matching his first three-inning output by pitching the fourth through sixth. Peavy threw forty-one pitches in the first three innings and forty-four pitches in his fourth through sixth inning stint.

After returning from the delay, when Peavy opened the top of the fourth by allowing leadoff singles to Torii Hunter and Miguel Cabrera, Bruce Bochy was quick to get George Kontos up and throwing, but Peavy went on to induce a double-play grounder from Victor Martinez, while getting J.D. Martinez to whiff to end the inning.

Kontos ended up pitching the seventh and eighth innings, giving up no runs on two hits and Tim Lincecum, continuing to work on his mechanics in the bullpen, threw a one-two-three ninth inning.

Hunter Pence’s hitting streak grew to seventeen games as he singled in the third inning uprising, but he was eliminated on the base-paths when Adam Duvall, filling in as DH, grounded into a fielder’s choice. Pence was  out at home when Nick Castellanos scooped up Duvall’s grounder and threw it in to Bryan Holaday for the force-out at the plate.

The Giants accumulated fifteen hits and have had at least ten hits in each of their last seven games with double-digit hits in sixteen of their last twenty games. Pablo Sandoval got the scoring going in the first when he drove in Angel Pagan, who had singled to lead off the game. Pablo hit a solo home run to cap off the scoring.

Pablo Sandoval waves to the cheering fans after his home run. Photo by Denise Walos.

Brandon Crawford had his second three-hit game in his last four, raising his average to .234. He knocked in one and also added a sacrifice bunt to his evening’s resume. Joe Panik (.321), Buster Posey (.306), and Gregor Blanco (.263) each had two hits, Blanco contributing a triple and a double and scoring both times. 

With the score 7-0 in the fifth inning, the Tigers scored two unearned runs on a groundout by Rajai Davis and a single by Ian Kinsler. The runs were unearned because of a rare error by Blanco, who had come into the game with 306 consecutive games without an error.

Rick Porcello started for Detroit and worked the three innings before the rain came, giving up six runs, five of them earned, on ten hits, with one walk and one strikeout. Evan Reed (4th, 5th), Buck Farmer (6th, 7th), Kyle Ryan (8th) and Pat McCoy (9th) finished up the game after the rain, with Reed and Farmer each surrendering one run, Pablo’s homer coming off of Farmer.

The last time the Giants were in Detroit, July 1-3, 2011, they took two out of three; Rick Porcello was the lone winning pitcher in a 6-3 victory, on getaway day, as the Giants departed for San Diego.

What will be remembered about this game is Jake Peavy’s gritty performance, when he talked his way past Bruce Bochy and back into the game after the long rain delay, a practice almost unheard of in the modern era. 

Sep 2, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Barry Zito (75) throws during the second inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Peavy used as his logic, the fact that Barry Zito had accomplished almost the exact feat, the last time the Giants played in Detroit in a game played on July 2, 2011. Zito had started and been staked to a 5-0 lead when the rain struck while the Giants were batting in the third. Zito returned after the delay to throw four more shutout innings.

The Giants have now won nine of eleven and have gone 15-8 since August 13th. They remain two games behind Los Angeles in the NL West.

Peavy is the new kid on the block and he is fiercely competitive, making the other new kids, like Panik, Andrew Susac and Duvall take note. This combination of competitiveness with the desire to excel, by both veterans and rookies, makes this latest version of the San Francisco Giants the most viable contender we have seen this season.

And the timing is not too shabby, either.

San Francisco Giants right fielder Hunter extended his hitting streak Friday night to seventeen games. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports