SAN FRANCISCO – Yusmeiro Petit’s next start will come on Sunday. He will oppose the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers. And Clayton Kershaw.
If he pitches as he did Tuesday night against the Arizona Diamondbacks, it might not be such a mismatch. And five hits from Joe Panik are always welcome, too.
Petit was more an efficiency expert than pitcher while throwing an astounding, 84-pitch complete game and Panik did something Marco Scutaro has never done in his long career in a 5-1 victory at AT&T Park Tuesdy night.
Panik was 5-for-5 and while he didn’t score a run or drive one in, he was at the center of all the Giants’ scoring as the Giants moved to within 2 ½ games of the Dodgers in the NL West.
Petit became the first major league pitcher in more than two years to throw a nine-inning complete game on 84 pitches or fewer. Aaron Cook did it on 81 pitches in 2012 for the Boston Red Sox.
Starting pitching report
Exactly one year and three days after Petit came within a strike of throwing a perfect game against the Diamondbacks, he was just as good this time around.
He retired the first nine hitters before Ender Inciarte hit a splash home run to start the fourth inning. Then Petit proceeded to retire the next three batters – and face the minimum in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, too.
Petit threw first-pitch strikes to 26 of 29 batters and the Diamondbacks took 17 of them.
He allowed four hits, didn’t walk a batter and struck out nine. He didn’t have a two-ball count until the fifth inning – he went two balls to a hitter just three times all game – and he didn’t have a single three-ball count all night.
The bullpen was busy in the eighth but Petit was able to give the relievers a night off.
At the plate
You know a lineup is rolling with confidence when hitters like Pablo Sandoval are willing to take a two-out walk to load the bases for a rookie like Andrew Susac.
And you know a pitcher is struggling to locate when he proceeds to walk a rookie like Susac to force in a run.
Wade Miley had little notion of where the baseball was going. He issued four walks and threw 58 pitches in his two innings (Petit threw 15 over the same span), and Arizona’s defense, perhaps hitting the snooze bar after watching all those walks, did him no favors.
Miley allowed three runs in his two innings and that’s after the Giants left the bases loaded both times. Angel Pagan started the first inning with a single, Panik followed with another and Sandoval didn’t bite on a 2-2 pitch in the dirt followed by a changeup he was meant to chase. That loaded the bases for Susac, who showed his own 2-2 discipline to draw a walk and score the Giants’ first run.
They loaded them again in the second inning when Petit and Pagan hit infield singles and Panik sprayed a hit to left field. Third base coach Tim Flannery knew better than to send Petit with one outs. With the bases loaded, Buster Posey surprised the ballpark by swinging at a 3-0 pitch – and his roller to second base should have resulted in a double play. But shortstop Didi Gregorius got a bit nonchalant with his throw to first base and it was off line, allowing the inning to continue and a run to score. Hunter Pence and Sandoval followed with walks, the latter of which forced in a run to make it 3-0.
The Giants scored two more in the sixth, with a Panik single at the center of the action. An error from Inciarte in left field allowed Gregor Blanco to score, and Posey brought in another run with a sacrifice fly.
Panik started one of Petit’s two double plays in the seventh inning.
With an official crowd of 41,683, the Giants extended their streak of announcing sellouts to 318 consecutive regular-season games.
The Giants and Diamondbacks continue their three-game series at AT&T Park on Wednesday. Ryan Vogelsong (8-10, 4.06 ERA) takes the mound against Diamondbacks right-hander Josh Collmenter (10-7, 3.81). First pitch is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. PDT.