Jake Peavy turned in another strong performance as the Giants completed the sweep of the Diamondbacks 6-2 on Thursday afternoon.
San Francisco has now won nine in a row at home, 12 of their last 15, are 16 games over .500, and sit just two behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the West – with the Dodgers heading north at AT&T Park for a three-game set this weekend.
The Giants offense got run support for Peavy early. Angel Pagan led off the bottom of the first with a double, Buster Posey hit a one-out single off of third baseman Jake Lamb, and Hunter Pence threw his bat at a pitch – which resulted in a two-out base hit up the middle and an RBI. Obviously.
Pagan got the scoring started again in the third when he led off with a single. He moved to second on a Posey groundout and scored on a Pablo Sandoval base hit. They added another run in the fourth when Gregor Blanco led off with a single, Travis Ishikawa walked, and Brandon Crawford crushed a ball into left-center. Blanco scored, but Crawford was thrown out trying to take second.
Arizona finally got on the board in the top of the sixth. Cliff Pennington hit a one-out triple before Mark Trumbo delivered a two-out RBI double. It was enough to knock Peavy out of the game, but Jean Machi got AJ Pollock to ground out to end the inning and preserve the lead for the Giants.
For the San Francisco starter, it was yet another solid start on the way to yet another win. After throwing five-and-two-thirds and allowing six hits, one earned run, and no walks while striking out eight against Arizona, Peavy (5-4) is now 5-1 with a 1.12 ERA in his last six starts. He’s given up just five earned runs in 40 1/3 innings over that span. Nobody is more impressed than his catcher.
“He’s been really, really consistent the last – I don’t know how far it goes back,” Posey said. “Just mixing well, moving the ball up and down, and throwing his off-speed when he wants to.”
For the Giants, it was just a continuation of the dominance of their starting rotation. Wednesday marked the tenth consecutive quality start at home, and the starting staff has fashioned a 1.00 ERA in their last ten games at A&T Park. Yeah, that’ll keep you close in a pennant race.
Not to be outdone, the Giants offense piled it on in the bottom of the sixth. Ishikawa led off with a single to left, moved to second on a Crawford groundout, and came home on a Juan Perez double down the left field line. With two outs, Matt Stites walked Joe Panik before Posey delivered an RBI single. Back-to-back walks to Sandoval and Pence walked in another run, and it was 6-1. After so many struggles earlier in the season, the San Francisco offense ranks first in runs per game, team batting average, and team average with runners in scoring position since the All-Star break.
Santiago Casilla surrendered a solo shot to Lamb with one out in the top of the ninth to give the Diamondbacks just their second run since Tuesday, but was able to close it out and secure the win for the Giants.
They now sit just two games back of the Dodgers in the West and have extending their lead to 4.5 games over Pittsburgh for the first Wild Card spot. San Francisco is also now 16 games over .500 for the first time since June 22. After winning the World Series with the Boston Red Sox last year, Peavy says the feeling is similar in the Giants clubhouse now.
“We’re excited about the opportunity we have in front of us. There’s nobody in this clubhouse who believes that we can’t get it done….It’s been fun. Certainly, a lot of the same spirit is in this room. There’s a championship pedigree around here. These guys have done it before, they’ve been in the fight, we’ve got experienced leadership with [Bochy] and the staff, so we’re in a great position.”
This weekend should be an epic September showdown with big playoff implications. Posey and the Giants are ready.
“We’re feeling good. We know that that’s a really good team coming into town that we’re gonna play. They’ve got good pitching and good offense, so we know we’re gonna have a good battle on our hands.”
The battle begins Friday night at 7:15 when Hyun-Jin Ryu (14-6, 3.16) will take on Madison Bumgarner (17-9, 3.02).