AT&T PARK — A 78-mph third-inning slider whiffed Rockies shortstop Charlie Culberson and inked Yusmeiro Petit’s name in baseball history.
In his seventh start of the season, Petit (W, 4-3, 3.44 ERA) kept last night’s milestone spectacle going with a Major League record of his own. With the strikeout to Culberson, he retired 46 consecutive batters, beating Mark Buehrle’s previous record by one, and pushed the Giants to a 4-1 win over the Colorado Rockies to take the series.
Petit’s dazzling start burned out quickly and almost comically. He surrendered a double to Rockies starter Jordan Lyles the following at bat, and a bloop single from Charlie Blackmon to score Lyles right after.
Manager Bruce Bochy was impressed with Petit’s accomplishment:
“It’s really incredible if you think about it. This game’s been played a long time and its quite a record to be proud of…It’s funny once he’d broken it and the pitcher got the double, I don’t know if he got a little distracted there but what a great job he did there.”
Petit said he wasn’t distracted by the moment, just made a mistake:
“I’m very happy to be able to establish this new record in the Major leagues…I was a little nervous, but the pitch to the pitcher, I wasn’t nervous. The pitch slid where I didn’t want it to and that’s how the pitcher got the double.”
Petit said he was aware of the streak he had going since his outing in Washington. Today’s historic outing lasted just six innings, nine strikeouts, four hits and an earned run.
Photos by Scot Tucker/SFBay
The Giants sealed the win with a little help from Gregor Blanco, who smashed a two-run shot off Lyles (L, 6-2, 4.08 ERA) into Levi’s Landing in the second inning for his first home run at AT&T since Matt Cain’s perfecto back in 2012.
Blanco said tweaks to his mechanics has made him more confident at the plate:
“I think my timing is better and I’ve been trying to hit the ball more in front and let the ball get deep on me and it’s been working. Since the All-Star break I’ve been doing that…It’s not an easy ballpark to hit a homer in.”
San Francisco’s third run came in the sixth courtesy of a Hunter Pence sacrifice fly to bring Angel Pagan — who had ripped his pants stealing second — in to score.
The fourth Giants run came via an Andrew Susac single to score Pablo Sandoval, who had singled to start the eighth inning and reached second after a single from Hunter Pence.
And just like that, the Giants took three consecutive games at home; an achievement dubbed almost unfeasible this second half of the season. To put this into perspective, the last time San Francisco won three consecutive home games was in a three game sweep of the Mets back in June.
Granted, the three home wins this month came against a depleted Rockies roster. But this series put the fate of the team in a broader scope as the Giants seem to have found a collection of hitters and defenders that are turning the team around and making a very real run for the playoffs.
Hunter Pence has hit safely in 10 consecutive games, while Pablo Sandoval is flashing his glove at third, boasting a .979 fielding percentage. And Buster Posey is quietly lifting the team higher: This series, he batted .462 with three home runs and seven RBIs.
Youngsters too are proving that they can stick with the team and contribute through the final month and, possibly, into the playoffs.
Joe Panik is hitting .372 this month and, though not very nimble at second base, is a trusty hitter. Andrew Susac has already hit two home runs and seven RBIs in his last six starts, Matt Duffy has filled in nicely for a slumping Brandon Crawford at shortstop, turning a few double plays this series.
Before Friday night’s MLB action, the Giants held a two-game lead over Atlanta and Pittsburgh for the final NL Wild Card spot.
The real test for an on-the-rise Giants team will be a tough matchup against the NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers starting tomorrow. Wily Peralta (15-8, 3.56 ERA) takes on Ryan Vogelsong (7-9, 3.78 ERA) at 7:15 p.m. at AT&T Park.