That was the last time five Giant pitchers popped long balls in a single season. Until Wednesday night, when Jake Peavy sent a two-strike ball — without batting gloves — deep to left, becoming the fifth San Francisco pitcher to jog the bases in 2015.
His milestone didn’t just highlight the achievement, it ignited a challenge, said Peavy:
“Chris Heston hated to see that home run more than anybody. Because you gotta put the pressure on him now. He probably hits the most home runs of any pitcher in batting practice. We give him a hard time that he hasn’t gotten one in the game.”
The San Francisco Giants are giving a whole new meaning to the term “pitchers who rake.” Home runs from Giants hurlers — Ryan Vogelsong, Mike Leake and Tim Hudson are the others who’ve gone deep — are now commonplace and not necessarily surprises, said Bochy:
“I should be more surprised by Vogelsong, but he did hit that in Colorado. I’m not taking it away from him … and of course Bum leads the pack. They work hard every day.”
Let’s call this the Madison Bumgarner effect. He’s led a train of big-hitting pitchers from this squad, and Peavy’s homer proved essential in the Giants’ 5-3 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday night.
Bruce Bochy cracked a smile as Peavy walked back to the dugout post-homer. The skipper’s seen him evolve from a fiery rookie in San Diego to, well, a fiery veteran today:
“I knew Jake when he was younger. He could battle up there, and his recent games he’s had some nice games offensively. Colorado, swung the bat well. Last game, got a big hit down the right field. His age you’d think he doesn’t have that pop to get one out, but he found a way.”
Giants pitchers have tallied 50 hits and 22 RBI so far, an advantage Bochy has utilized with an emaciated bench on his hands. It’s cool but sad when both Bumgarner and Leake (who lead all pitchers in homers and RBI) are tapped to pinch hit in a late comeback.
But that was yesterday. We all want to forget yesterday. Tonight, Peavy’s homer was timely. He bumped the Giants up to a 4-0 lead with his solo shot in the fourth. Peavy has two RBI and four hits in three starts this September — he’s been a force.
Not just at the plate, of course. Wednesday night’s outing wasn’t quite the two-hit, one-run performance he dealt in San Diego last week, but it was just as effective.
Peavy (W, 4-6, 4.08 ERA) pitched six, including a Bochy ‘you all good?’ meeting on the mound, and earned two runs on seven hits. He also matched his season-high with eight strikeouts. Peavy said his stuff has been solid start-to-start:
“I struck out two Padres and had just as good as stuff the other night and that was mostly right handed hitters. That’s the way it is.”
The suddenly-on Giants offense, which is essentially made up of Sacramento River Cats, Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, Matt Duffy and Angel Pagan, tallied 12 hits Wednesday night. They’ve been in full force in this last-ditch effort to catch the Dodgers (who beat Colorado 2-0 tonight).
But let’s talk about Ehire Adrianza, who’s made his many haters look foolish with a relatively stunning home stand. He’s become a starting lineup fixture for 15 games, with Brandon Crawford sidelined with calf tightness and side soreness, and finally found his groove. Said Bochy:
“The kid’s been playing well. He’s got his confidence back. He went through a tough streak there but he’s throwing out some good at bats. Big RBI doubles there, good to see him getting that confidence backing, taking some better swings.”
Before this home stand, Adrianza was batting .152 with five RBI. The past six games, he’s hit .267 with six RBI.
Two of those came tonight. The first: an RBI double that he rocketed into center field to score Marlon Byrd, who had doubled, and give the Giants a 2-0 lead. The second: an RBI triple in the seventh that proved essential after a Reds quasi-comeback in the late innings.
The bullpen fared better than last night, too. Hunter Strickland got two big outs in the eighth to quell a bases-loaded eighth inning rally. Santiago Casilla gave us some ninth-inning drama, loading the bases with two outs before Brandon Phillips grounded out to end the game.
The Giants placed Joe Panik on the 60-day DL, freezing his 2015 batting average at .312 over 432 plate appearances with 8 home runs and 37 RBI. … Outfielder Mac Williamson and C Trevor Brown joined San Francisco from Triple-A Sacramento. … The Giants released Cuban OF Daniel Carbonell after he hit .146 at Double-A Richmond in 56 games and 214 plate appearances.