Petit and Panik Impress in Giants win

The Giants rode a strong pitching performance from Yusmeiro Petit and took advantage of Arizona miscues to beat the Diamondbacks 5-1 and take game one of the series.

Joe Panik was five-for-five, and Buster Posey drove in two in the win.

San Francisco got on the board right away, as Angel Pagan and Panik led off the bottom of the first with back-to-back singles. After Wade Miley got two outs, he walked Pablo Sandoval to load the bases and Andrew Susac to bring in the first run of the game.

The Giants added two more in the second. With one out, Petit singled up the middle for his first hit of the season. Pagan dropped a bunt single up the first base line, and Panik’s base hit loaded the bases for Posey. Posey worked the count 3-0 before grounding into what would’ve been a double play – but a sloppy throw from Didi Gregorius allowed Posey to reach on a fielder’s choice and Petit to score. A walk to Hunter Pence loaded the bases once again before Miley – once again – walked Sandoval and walked in a run.

Miley (7-11) got out of the inning without further damage, but was pulled after giving up five hits, three earned runs, and four walks in just two innings. He needed 58 pitches – 31 strikes – and recorded one strikeout.

After a perfect nine-up and nine-down through the first three innings, Petit finally surrendered a run when Ender Inciarte led off the top of the fourth with a massive splash hit into McCovey Cove. The first time through the line-up, the San Francisco starter threw three pitches or less to every batter, while also recording a first-pitch strike to all nine guys.

The solo show from Inciarte didn’t seem to faze Petit (5-3) too much, as he turned in an incredibly efficient performance, saving the Giants bullpen. The right-hander threw just 84 pitches – 68 strikes! – in the complete-game, allowing four hits, one run, and no walks while striking out nine. Overall, he thew first-pitch strikes to 26 of 29 Diamondbacks.

“That’s my key, you know, stay early in the zone and in the count and try to mix it up every pitch. I try to stay up all the time in the count…the umpire gave me all my pitches early, so that’s the reason that I got a lot of contact.”

With how much Petit pounds the strike zone, Panik loves playing behind him.

“We love it as infielders. He works quick, and he pounds the zone. You’re not standing around for too long, so it keeps you in the game mentally and physically. As an infielder, we love it.”

San Francisco added some unnecessary (but still fun!) insurance runs in the sixth. Gregor Blanco led off with a single, Pagan collected another base hit, and Panik drove another ball into left for his fourth hit of the night. Inciarte misplayed it, allowing Blanco to come home and Pagan to move to third. Posey then flied out to foul territory in left, but another lackadaisical play from the Diamondbacks – this time from Inciarte – gave Pagan time to tag up and score. Posey’s two (Arizona aided) RBIs on the night give him 81 on the year.

The combined one-two punch of Pagan and Panik at the top of the order went nine-for-ten on Tuesday night, with Panik collecting his first career five-hit game. He became the first Giants rookie to do so since Fred Lewis on May 13, 2007, and he joins Posey as the only other Giant with a five-hit game this year. It’s not a night that he’ll soon forget.

“It doesn’t matter what types of hits they are, five hits in a game is something special because it’s not an easy game. And to have that tonight is definitely something I’m going to remember.”

It was a big night for the entire team, as the Brewers, Braves, Pirates, and Dodgers all lost, putting San Francisco just 2.5 back in the West and four ahead of Pittsburgh for the first Wild Card spot. After struggling so much at AT&T Park during June, July, and August, the Giants have now won seven straight at home. Bruce Bochy isn’t surprised.

“We couldn’t explain why we had some struggles at home. These things happen in baseball….we lost some tough games there…but this is where we normally do play well. We have tremendous support, so it’s good to see us have success here at home. I think it goes back to a couple of homestands ago where we won a series against Philly and came back and carried that into the next homestand…it’s critical that we play well and stay on this roll here at home.”

With Los Angeles coming in for a three-game set this weekend – possibly the biggest series of the season – San Francisco will look to continue its success against the Diamondbacks. (they’re 9-5 vs. Arizona this season). On Wednesday, Josh Collmenter (10-7, 3.81) will face Ryan Vogelsong (8-10, 4.06).

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