Giants pound Padres to pick up ground
The Giants are scoreboard-watching at this point in the season; the old-timey board in right field was flashing good news for the dugout right across the field.
The Dodgers were pummeled by the Arizona Diamondbacks 12-4 Friday night, and the Giants actually gained some ground with a 9-1 win over the Padres. And, hey, they’re 7-1/2 games back in the NL West. Bruce Bochy isn’t hiding it, he’s watching the board:
“I think we all are. It’s been awhile since we picked up a game. But you never know … one thing we can control is go out there and win ball games.”
It’s got to be tough for Bruce Bochy and his crew to stay hyped, at this juncture. Of the Opening Day lineup, just Buster Posey, Brandon Belt and Angel Pagan have traversed the DL gauntlet.
The rest of the world has written them off — the odd-year gate isn’t open for the Giants this time around — but hope is still alive in the clubhouse, Bochy said before the game:
“They’ll come out here and give it all they have. You miss the key players, important players in the lineup like this, it makes the hill that much steeper.”
It’s not going to be easy, but the Giants will play with the hand they’re dealt. And put on a show, too.
Photos by Scot Tucker/SFBay
Buster Posey, amid the rubble, is making a very real run for the National League batting title. His tie-breaking RBI single in the third extended his hitting streak to 11 games and sustained his .329 batting average. Washington’s Bryce Harper (.334) and Miami’s Dee Gordon (.329) are the guys to beat with three weeks remaining in the season.
The fun didn’t stop there tonight. Oh no, there were plenty of what-the-heck moments to come.
Let’s start with Ehire Adrianza. Before Friday, he was riding a 17 at-bat hitless streak. Tonight, he went 2-for-2 with two walks, including an RBI single in the fifth inning.
Jarrett Parker, whose one hit with the Giants was way back on June 15, pinch-hit in the seventh and slammed a RBI ground-rule double. The kids, time after time, will do more than fill the gaps, said Bochy:
“That’s pretty impressive because (Parker) really hasn’t been doing a lot since his season ended. He really smoked that ball.”
Bochy continued with praise for Adrianza:
“He’s a better hitter than what’s been going on. He’s been fighting. He lost some confidence but hopefully this gets him going again until we get Crawford back. We’ll need some help there at the back end of the order and we got some today”
Angel Pagan’s been showing off his new knees lately. Friday was no different, as he evened out an early Padres one-run lead in the second with an RBI single.
He wasn’t done, though. In the seventh, with the Giants up 4-1, he robbed Matt Kemp of a whopping solo shot that was headed for the kale garden. Ever-serious Pagan grinned as the crowd roared to ear-plugging decibels. Giants baseball is never dull.
“It was perfect timing. I can’t even believe it. Everything just fell in place perfectly…I guess it was just great instincts.”
Jake Peavy, who has notoriously bad eyesight, didn’t see the catch:
“You know how my eyes are. No. When he threw it in I was really happy.”
The catch shaved a potential tally to his one earned run night. Peavy continued his recent dominance Friday, hitting his spots with few exceptions. He was efficient, giving up that one run — a cutter that Justin Upton sent way out to left for a solo shot — and retiring the next 17 batters before giving up his second hit.
Said Peavy of Upton’s homer:
“I just threw a bad pitch, location trying to throw a strike there 3-2…When you throw pitches like that to guys in the middle of the lineup, they do that sometimes.”
Peavy even got in on the scoring fun. His single in the fifth scored Kelby Tomlinson, put the Giants up 5-1, and gave him three hits and two RBI for this young September.
He dished 79 pitches by the end of the seventh, and it looked like he would hurdle that inning for the first time this season.
What the Giants lack in offensive depth they make up for in bullpen talent; Cory Gearrin. Cody Hall and Bochy’s son Brett Bochy are the newbies in an overflowing lot.
The only explanation? Give ol’ Peavy a rest and get the new guys some time on the mound, Bochy said:
“I’ve got a battalion in that bullpen so I’m trying to find ways to get them a little work.”
After all, the Giants had an eight-run lead to cushion Peavy’s departure. Gearrin made his debut with the Giants in the eighth, striking out Alex Dickerson and forcing a Derek Norris ground out.
Brett Bochy came in the ninth to close out the game, but not without a little drama.
He sealed the first two outs, but Matt Kemp rocked him for a late single. Flustered, he hit Upton with a pitch and forced his dad out to the mound for a chat.
“I could hear the crowd, and I thought ‘I need to get Peety (Yusmeiro Petit) a little work, but you got this hitter.'”
The crowd started chanting “Bochy” — a new one that could either imply support for the kid or a plea for their manager. Bochy said:
“I was kinda caught there, and I’m not gonna lie to you, the crowd influenced me.”
Dad kept him on the mound and Brett struck out Jedd Gyorko to end the game.
And so, the Giants gain a little ground. The Giants know games like tonight’s need to be the norm, said Peavy:
“We know the task ahead. … We’re just trying to get within striking distance. Those guys come in here for four games, if we can get that thing somehow down around there we can make this thing interesting.”