SAN FRANCISCO — The moment that stood out to Jake Peavy on Thursday wasn’t his first pitch of the home opener, or Angel Pagan’s go-ahead hit, or Hunter Pence’s blast that put it out of reach.
As Peavy walked out of the clubhouse, he couldn’t stop talking about a subtle defensive shift in the fifth inning that got him his final out. In his first at-bat, Joc Pederson had pulled an outside cutter up the middle, reaching when the ball just evaded a diving Brandon Crawford. Three innings later, with the Giants trailing 4-0, Matt Duffy went to the mound to join a meeting. Crawford signaled to Duffy that he wanted to know where to play, and Duffy asked Peavy, who moved the shortstop over further toward the foreign side of the second base bag.
Peavy, with two runners in scoring position, threw Pederson the exact same pitch. He hit it the exact same way, and this time Crawford was standing right there to scoop the ball and make an inning-ending throw to first. The Giants would go on to win 12-6, and as Peavy talked about the comeback, he pointed to the attention shown by two infielders as the game threatened to get out of hand.
“That’s so rare,” he said. “It shows you how focused they are on every detail.”
[INSTANT REPLAY: Giants roar back vs Dodgers, win home opener]
The Giants took that approach to every at-bat, and eventually the offense came in waves. Alex Wood stymied the Giants for four innings, extending a Dodgers scoreless streak to 31 innings to start the season. But this lineup keeps grinding and looking for the smallest way to beat you. Four times Thursday, the Giants put down a bunt. They had 17 hits, including two opposite-field beauties from Duffy and Crawford in the sixth that kicked off a four-run rally.
“Each batter you’re facing, you have to be on,” Pence said, putting himself in an opposing pitcher’s shoes. “All the way down the line, and even a lot of our pitchers, we can hit. It makes everyone better. We’ve got a lot of guys who are going to keep competing with you no matter what you’ve got. You’re going to earn the outs.”
Peavy saw that behind him, as his infielders helped him earn his final out on a day when he never felt quite comfortable. The lineup then went to work, and a Dodgers bullpen that continues to be an Achilles heel simply couldn’t earn outs quickly enough.
When it was over the Giants had 12 runs for the second time in four games. They have 45 hits already, and every starter had at least one on Thursday. Joe Panik had three, scored three times and drove in three runs. Buster Posey had three hits and drove in a pair. Pence wiped out a hanging slider from Pedro Baez for his sixth career grand slam.
“A lot of good things happened,” manager Bruce Bochy said, smiling. “We executed so well.”
The execution was there throughout, on Tomlinson’s bunt hit that ignited a rally and Denard Span’s bunt single and Gregor Blanco’s pinch single and much more. Once the Giants started rolling downhill, a demoralizing half-day turned into a blowout. Panik said some hitters were cautious at first against Wood, who has a funky delivery, but by the fifth they had decided to be more aggressive and not let him get ahead of counts. It all added up.
“It gives us confidence,” he said, “Because we know what type of guys we have. To go out and do this right out of the chute is great.”
The explosion kept the Dodgers from setting the MLB record for consecutive scoreless innings to start a season. They came an inning short of matching the 1963 St. Louis Cardinals, although none of the Giants seemed to realize there was a record chase going on. Of course, they didn’t mind ending it. These are the Dodgers, after all.
“I’m glad we didn’t help them make history,” Panik said.