SAN FRANCISCO — After a poor start at Coors Field earlier this month, Jake Peavy kicked himself for trying to attack the Rockies the same way Jeff Samardzija had the night before.
“I see a lot of my old self in Jeff,” Peavy said Saturday night. “In Coors, what got me in trouble was trying to do a lot of what he did but with four or five miles-per-hour less. It wasn’t the best of game plans.”
Peavy pitched more like this current Peavy on Saturday, not the one who used to sit in the upper 90s for the Padres, but it wouldn’t be totally accurate to say he fully gave up on the Samardzija game plan. A night after Samardzija drove in three runs in a win over the Marlins, Peavy drove in two off Jose Fernandez to help the Giants to an easy 7-2 victory.
“Offensively, I think we’re all table-setters for our pitchers right now,” third baseman Matt Duffy joked.
Duffy put out the good silverware in his second game back in the three-spot, picking up three hits behind Denard Span (2-for-5) and Joe Panik (2-for-3, BB, RBI). Gregor Blanco added two triples and two runs on a night when Peavy didn’t need all that much help. The veteran has had trouble getting through the order a third time, but manager Bruce Bochy let him work some kinks out in the late innings and Peavy responded by getting through seven on just 90 pitches.
“That’s an area that I know he’s battled at times, but he did a great job getting through six and of course going seven,” Bochy said. “It’s a case where he kept his pitch count down and his focus was there. We need him and (Matt) Cain to get deeper into games, and he did it tonight.”
Bochy said Peavy’s stuff was “different tonight,” although Peavy later said he’s not all the way back to where he wants to be. Regardless, he gave up just two earned, striking out four, including Giancarlo Stanton twice.
“This is more of Jake, with where his delivery was and his arm,” Bochy said. “He was going more toward home plate and he had good depth on his pitches.”
For a change, Peavy is finally seeing the full depth of his best pitches. He said he changed his contacts late last season and that’s helped soften the impact of an astigmatism that has plagued him for years.
The new lenses have helped a bit at the plate, but Peavy saved most his praise for hitting coaches Hensley Meulens and Steve Decker. Several hitters noted Saturday that the starting staff had a particularly lively BP session — “it’s a joke,” Duffy said, in a good way, when describing Madison Bumgarner’s BP homers — and Peavy said that work is carrying over into games.
“Us pitchers here do not get treated out in BP as pitchers,” he said. “Deck and Bam are out there every day working with us about getting better. It’s not the way they teach Buster, it’s almost Little League-ish, but it brings out the best in you.”
The friendly competition has gone beyond the starting staff. Duffy laughed as he told a story about Bumgarner walking into the video room recently and seeing All-Star-caliber hitters studying clips of Clayton Kershaw.
“He goes, ‘You want me to teach you how to hit homers off Kershaw?’” Duffy said.
The Giants have taken that approach onto the field, with Peavy following Samardzija’s lead at the plate and — in a different fashion — on the mound. The two have combined for 14 1/3 strong innings in this series. The five RBI are a bonus, but one the pitchers certainly enjoy. After a rough week, the whole team is again pitching in, from the leadoff hitter to the starting pitcher.
“That’s the way we win,” Peavy said. “Who we are as a team is the way we were tonight.”
--- Duffy's family was in town for his first bobblehead night and he made an impact from start to finish. Aside from the hits, Duffy started the night with a great catch at the rail to keep Dee Gordon from getting another crack at it. So, what did he think of the bobblehead?
"I think he's better looking than I am," Duffy said.
--- Peavy talked of dialing back, knowing that he doesn't throw 95 anymore and can be more effective by setting hitters up. Well, Hunter Strickland throws 100, but he did the same thing, twice throwing good sliders to set Stanton up. Strickland finished him off with 97.
--- Blanco had a huge night in place of Angel Pagan and Bochy said he likely will play tomorrow with a lefty on the mound. The guess here is that Pagan is leading off tomorrow, with Bochy giving Span a rest day and putting Blanco in center.
--- Cory Gearrin likes his new warm-up music -- Public Enemy's "Welcome to the Terrordome" -- as much as you do. He said it fired him up more than usual in the ninth.
--- It’s hard being an umpire in real time so I don’t mention them too often, but it seemed pretty clear that Span was safe in the seventh inning when he tried to steal second. New York ruled that there wasn’t enough evidence to overturn the call. It didn’t matter in the final result, but still, there are occasional glitches in the replay system.
"They don't explain it to you," Bochy said. "I haven't looked at it (yet) and to be honest, I didn't wait on our replay guys. I went ahead and challenged it. I thought he was safe, and it looked like on the scoreboard that he was safe."
(It appeared Don Mattingly also challenged without waiting for his replay guys. That one wasn't as close.)