SAN FRANCISCO -- A few minutes before the Giants started a five-run rally Wednesday, Jake Peavy hit a pivot point. Two on, two out and Ryan Braun at the plate in a scoreless game. Braun struck out and Peavy pumped his fist close to his chest, his eyes practically bugging out of his head.
"I wanted to get him out there in a bad way, I'll tell you that," Peavy said.
Peavy has been dominant (.575 OPS against) the first time through the order and nearly as good the second time through (.631) but he was getting thrashed when hitters saw him a third time. In his previous starts this season, Peavy was allowing a .429/.484/.857 slash line to hitters who were seeing him a third time that day. He had allowed four homers in those situations, but on Wednesday he buckled down and got Braun before turning the game over to the bullpen and the lineup.
"It's nice to be able to reach back and have swing-and-miss pitches when you really need it against an elite player in the league," he said.
[INSTANT REPLAY: Five-run seventh powers Giants past Brewers]
The showdown was an encouraging one for the Giants in more ways than one. Peavy, who threw six shutout innings, said he's finally putting some weight on and getting back to 100 percent physically. He tried to slim down before this season to get more athletic, but then he lost eight additional pounds in Scottsdale because of an illness. Back and hip injuries early in the season kept him from doing his usual leg workouts, but he's back to normal now.
"I didn't have the power or stamina (before). I was moving around well, but it just didn't translate," Peavy said.
He feels much better now and thinks the best is yet to come. On Wednesday he threw 21 pitches in the first but bounced back and gave the Giants six scoreless innings in a game he viewed as a must-win. With a long trip coming up, Peavy said he wanted the players to be able to enjoy a "lighter" flight to Arlington. Winning certainly made that possible.
"He had really good stuff, he really kept it down," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's been throwing the ball really well since he came back."
Peavy has helped solidify the rotation, and the Giants are looking for another boost. Here's my story from earlier today on the chase of Cole Hamels.
That's the main news today, but there were other highlights. A quick rundown ...
--- Hunter Pence had a Gold Glove-type day in right field, chasing down a ball to Triples Alley and then making that throw to third to nail Jonathan Lucroy. A reporter asked Pence if he is surprised guys still challenge him.
"If you looked at my throw last night, I would have challenged myself," he said, smiling. "I missed by 30 feet or something ridiculous."
He didn't miss Wednesday, but he did deflect credit.
"Really, the crazy part was the tag," he said. "The catch (by Matt Duffy) and the tag."
Yes, it was a great tag. It was also a phenomenal throw.
--- Peavy summed up Pence perfectly: "He has a unique physical stature but his insides are every bit as unique. This guy is a special spirit."
Pence on Peavy: "That attitude he brings is uplifting. It's really incredible to play behind the passion he has."
--- Peavy has a three-game hitting streak after going hitless in his first 15 starts for the Giants. He said he's been able to do more work on the side this year; last year, he didn't have much time in August and September to get used to hitting again after coming over from the American League. "I'm starting to have a little better idea," he said. "I'm not the athlete I once was, but I can help every once in a while."
--- Joe Panik told me he's feeling much better but his stiff back is still day to day. He's hoping the off day helps enough that he's able to play Friday.
--- Bochy plans to give Ehire Adrianza starts at short and third on the next trip when Brandon Crawford and Duffy get days off, and he was hopeful the two-run single Wednesday would give Adrianza a boost. "I'm going to need this kid on the road trip," Bochy said.
That single brought Hector Sanchez racing home (on a second successful "send" from Roberto Kelly). Sanchez is nicknamed "El Iman" because he's a magnet for baseballs, but this one was ridiculous. The throw home managed to hit right where Sanchez was planting his knee, and he rolled over it painfully. I mean, this magnet thing is getting ridiculous. The baseball ALWAYS finds him.
"It finds a way," Sanchez said, shaking his head, "No matter what I'm doing."
Sanchez stayed in the game and he said his knee was fine. His butt was the part that hurt, because he rolled right over the ball. So what happened as Sanchez walked out of the clubhouse and toward the team bus?
A team employee gave Sanchez a nice, firm "good job today" slap right where he had been hit.