Major League Baseball didn’t do the Giants any favors this week by having them play a game in Denver on Sunday and a day game in Atlanta on Monday, but the schedule certainly has helped Jake Peavy.
Needing a positive stretch after a disastrous outing against the Cubs earlier this month, Peavy was lined up to face the light-hitting Padres and Braves. He took full advantage, shutting down the Padres last week and then throwing just 77 pitches in seven dominant innings Tuesday in Atlanta. Pitching on his 35th birthday, Peavy faced the minimum, allowing just one hit and striking out three in a 4-0 win over the Braves. In his past two starts Peavy has found his groove, giving up just seven hits and one run over 13 2/3 innings.
Peavy helped himself at the plate on Tuesday, too, hitting a broken-bat single with two outs in the top of the sixth to help get the game’s first run across. In a scoreless game, Bruce Bochy put his pitcher in motion. Peavy flew home, scoring easily on Denard Span’s liner into the gap that went for a triple. Afterward, he huddled with trainer Dave Groeschner, who tried to help the veteran recover from a long run on a steaming day in Atlanta.
Pitchers often have trouble recovering from an inning like that, as the Giants saw earlier this season when Shelby Miller tripled off Jeff Samardzija and then fell apart the next half-inning. But Peavy kept rolling. Adonis Garcia opened the bottom of the sixth with a long fly to right that Hunter Pence chased down, and Peavy got out of the frame with a strikeout and lazy fly.
His day ended only because the Giants loaded the bases ahead of the pitcher’s spot in the top of the eighth. Pinch-hitter Matt Duffy drove in a run with a sacrifice fly and it was all Giants from there. They tacked on a couple more runs.
Starting pitching report: Peavy allowed one hit in a start for just the sixth time in his long career. Tuesday’s game was just the second time Peavy pitched more than four shutout innings and allowed just one hit. He pitched 7 2/3 one-hit innings against the Brewers on August 30, 2014.
Bullpen report: Peavy and Matt Wisler sailed into the eighth — and then the Braves used three relievers for the next three outs and Bochy did the same.
At the plate: Peavy’s hit was his fifth of the season, giving him the staff lead.
In the field: A day after getting smoked on the wrist by a 96 mph fastball, Duffy played third base in the late innings.
Up next: Albert Suarez will make his first big league start after 103 in the minor leagues. Suarez is pitching in place of Matt Cain, who is on the DL with a hamstring injury.