Jake Peavy warms up to the sounds of the Grateful Dead before his starts at AT&T Park. His right arm carries the weight of more than 2,300 major-league innings. His eyesight is so bad that Giants catcher Buster Posey on Sunday painted nearly the entire length of his fingers – not just the nails – so that Peavy could read his signs.
Then there’s this: When Peavy made his major-league debut for the Padres in June 2002 at age 21, the pitcher he opposed on Sunday, Dodgers left-hander Julio Urias, was 5 years old.
But the years have not dulled Peavy’s competitive zeal. The veteran right-hander grunted and leg-whipped his way through six scoreless innings, and Brandon Belt’s two-run homer in the sixth proved just enough offense to beat the Dodgers 2-1 and give Peavy his 150th career win.
Afterward, the 35-year-old grinned when asked if he was motivated by facing Urias, the Dodgers’ 19-year-old phenom.
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“Look, I wanted to go out and show our in-division rival that they were going to have a fight on their hands,” Peavy said. “I showed up today thinking I was going to win.”
Look, I wanted to go out and show our in-division rival that they were going to have a fight on their hands. I showed up today thinking I was going to win.
Giants 35-year-old right-hander Jake Peavy, when asked if he was motivated by facing 19-year-old Julio Urias of the Dodgers
A few days ago, it wasn’t clear Peavy was going to pitch. Manager Bruce Bochy revealed Peavy was dealing with neck stiffness and did not take his normal bullpen between starts. Peavy credited the Giants’ training staff with getting him to the point Saturday where he felt good enough to pitch.
He held the Dodgers to four singles, three by Chase Utley, before re-aggravating the neck in the sixth on a play that showed his competitiveness remains intact. Utley hit a grounder that Belt fielded and flipped to Peavy, who dove headlong for first base trying for the out.
Utley was called out at first but ruled safe after the Dodgers challenged. Peavy pitched the rest of the inning with dirt on the shoulder of his jersey, retiring the Dodgers’ 2-3-4 hitters on three flyouts, before telling the Giants’ staff his stiffness had returned.
“I was feeling it on those pitches in the sixth and at that point in time tried to do what was best for the team,” Peavy said. “I certainly didn’t want to come out of the game, but it was the right call.”
He stayed in long enough for the Giants’ offense to finally solve Urias. Joe Panik lined a one-out single in the sixth, their first hit off Urias since the second inning, and Belt, who had struck out in two prior at-bats, drove a 1-1 pitch into the arcade seats in right-center field for his eighth home run.
That ended the night for Urias, who in just his fourth major-league start held the Giants to two hits in his first five innings and struck out seven with a fastball that reached the mid-90s and a sharp slider. Belt said after two strikeouts he decided to “hunt for something” and hit a slider that Urias hung.
“For 19 years old, he showed a lot of poise out there,” Bochy said. “It was packed, and he didn’t seem in awe of anything. He’s got good stuff; he’s a good young talent.”
Joc Pederson homered off Giants reliever Hunter Strickland in the seventh inning, and the Giants failed to score after Brandon Crawford tripled to lead off the bottom of the inning. But five Giants relievers combined to record the final six outs. Javier Lopez threw out Adrian Gonzalez when he tried bunting to beat a shift leading off the ninth, and Santiago Casilla notched the final two outs for his first save since May 22.
“I love that (Bochy) is going all-out to try to win ballgames,” Peavy said a day after the Giants used nine pitchers in a 3-2, 10-inning win. “He’s going after it like it’s Game 7 of the World Series, and that’s the way we play.”
I love that (manager Bruce Bochy) is going all-out to try to win ballgames. He’s going after it like it’s Game 7 of the World Series, and that’s the way we play.
San Francisco pitcher Jake Peavy, a day after the Giants used nine pitchers in a 3-2, 10-inning win
Since May 9, when Peavy had an 8.47 ERA – leading to speculation he would lose his spot in the Giants’ rotation – he has allowed one or zero runs in four of his past six starts while pitching at least six innings in each. Peavy became the sixth active pitcher to reach 150 wins, but said he was happier helping the Giants win a series that included a comeback walk-off win Saturday.
The Giants improved to 15-7 in one-run games and moved five games ahead of the Dodgers in the National League West, where they’ve won 19 of 23 against division opponents.
“It was a big win for our club,” Peavy said. “We were a couple outs away from losing the series (Saturday), and that momentum swing … was huge.”