SAN FRANCISCO – Jake Peavy didn’t have too many deep thoughts about facing the San Diego Padres for the first time in his career.
When you’re preparing for a big fight, you don’t get worked up much about the sparring partner.
Peavy would be the Giants’ choice to start Game 1 of an NL Division Series at Washington, if they can get past the wild card game. He’s hoping his five-inning start in a 3-1 victory over the Padres served as a tuneup for that assignment.
It was the first time Peavy faced the team that drafted and developed him, and where he won a 2007 NL Cy Young Award. Peavy was the starting pitcher when Bud Black made his debut as the Padres’ manager, too. Some ties remain to the coaching staff and the uniform is familiar, of course. But it’s not like Peavy was facing any former teammates.
So it was business as usual.
Peavy tossed five innings and Brandon Crawford continued his scorching September, hitting a tiebreaking, two-run single in the eighth inning as the Giants pushed their record to 87-74 with only the regular-season finale to play.
Starting pitching report
Peavy had baserunners in every inning but mostly pitched out of jams, including one in the fourth when right fielder Juan Perez dropped a fly ball. The Padres plated a run in the fifth on two hits and a sacrifice fly.
Peavy, whom the Giants will seek to re-sign after the season, ended up 6-4 with a 2.17 ERA in 12 starts after coming over from the Boston Red Sox in a trade for pitching prospects Heath Hembree and Edwin Escobar. That’s a lower ERA than Jeff Samardzija, Jon Lester or David Price – three more heralded and expensive pitchers dealt in July – were able to post with their new clubs.
Jeremy Affeldt struck out three in two scoreless innings and Hunter Strickland, another virtual lock for the Wild Card roster, worked a 1-2-3 eighth. Santiago Casilla pitched the ninth for his 19th save of the season.
Strickland received credit for his first major league victory to go along with the save he earned earlier this month. Strickland is unscored upon in seven innings spanning nine appearances, with five hits, no walks and nine strikeouts.
At the plate
The Giants featured a lineup fit for a spring training split-squad game, with the Brandons in there along with a whole bunch of rookies.
Buster Posey got another day to rest his back, Pablo Sandoval rested as well, Gregor Blanco got treatment on a sore hamstring and Hunter Pence was out of the starting lineup for the first time in two years.
Pence’s streak of 331 consecutive starts, a San Francisco-era franchise record, might have ended. But he lined out as a pinch hitter in the seventh inning to extend a run of 382 consecutive games played – also the longest in the Giants’ San Francisco era and the longest current streak in the major leagues.
Brandon Belt’s double scored Matt Duffy in the first inning, the Padres tied it in the fourth and the game remained deadlocked until the eighth.
Gary Brown earned a standing ovation when he beat out a bunt single for his first big league hit in the third inning. He added another infield hit to start the eighth. Matt Duffy erased Brown on a fielder’s choice but took second base when the relay throw got away for an error. The Padres intentionally walked Belt, then Andrew Susac walked to load the bases.
The crowd rose to its feet as Sandoval appeared Bonds-style from the dugout to pinch hit, but he fanned the air with three big cuts while striking out. Crawford followed and came through, breaking his bat on a line drive to right field that scored a pair of runs.
In case you haven’t noticed, Crawford is hitting .371 in September and his 16 RBIs match Posey for the club lead in the month. His hot streak lifted his average up to .246 – ever so slightly below the .248 he hit in each of the two previous seasons.
Perez became the first Giant other than Pence to start in right field since Sept. 23, 2012, the day after they clinched an NL West title. Francisco Peguero was the starter that day.
Perez dropped an easy fly ball in the fourth for an error, but Brown made the most of his day in center field. He got a great jump and battled the sun to catch Rene Rivera’s drive to the warning track in the ninth.
With an official crowd of 41,157, the Giants extended their streak of announcing sellouts to 326 consecutive regular-season home games.
The Giants conclude the regular season with the finale of a four-game series against the San Diego Padres at AT&T Park on Sunday. Chris Heston (0-0, 0.00) makes his first major league start and will oppose Padres left-hander Robbie Erlin (4-4, 4.53). First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. PDT.