The “fire and intensity” that manager Bruce Bochy spent two days touting about new Giants pitcher Jake Peavy showed in Peavy’s demonstrativeness on the mound in his debut Sunday.
The right-hander shook his head at close pitches called balls and grunted loudly on his delivery. In the fifth inning, after Dodgers second baseman Dee Gordon struck out swinging on a low pitch but reached safely as the ball skipped under the glove of catcher Buster Posey, Peavy rolled his head back and glared at the sky.
The root of Peavy’s apparent frustration soon became clear. Gordon, one of the fastest players in baseball, advanced to second on a Yasiel Puig walk, then took third as another pitch got away from Posey. When Adrian Gonzalez struck out on a pitch in the dirt, requiring Posey to throw to first to complete the strikeout, Gordon made a dash for home, sliding in ahead of Adam Duvall’s relay throw with a game-altering run.
It tied the score 2-2 and began a three-run inning for the Dodgers, who also received an RBI single from Hanley Ramirez and a triple by Carl Crawford that scored Ramirez. That was enough to spoil Peavy’s San Francisco debut, as the Dodgers beat the Giants 4-3 to complete a three-game sweep at AT&T Park and take a 11/2-game lead in the National League West.
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Peavy, acquired from Boston on Saturday morning, allowed four runs and six hits in six innings. The first run was unearned. Ramirez led off the fourth with a chopper that second baseman Dan Uggla let bounce through his legs. Crawford then hit a potential double-play ball but beat Uggla’s relay to first, and Matt Kemp and Juan Uribe followed with back-to-back singles, with Uribe’s scoring Crawford.
“He did a good job,” manager Bruce Bochy said of Peavy. “We made him work hard today, and that’s a tough game for us. We made some mistakes, gave them too many outs, and it came back to haunt us.”
None more so than the third strike to Gordon, which Posey said, of the pitches that got away from him in the fifth, was “the one that I think bugs me more than anything.”
“It was a weird inning, but no excuses, I’ve got to do a better job,” Posey said. “He’s too much of a threat on the paths to let him get on like that.”
As for the play on which Gordon scored, Bochy said that with Gonzalez running to first, “(Posey) had time to check him. He threw to first without looking, and Gordon’s got that kind of speed.” Posey, meanwhile, said he felt he “glanced (at Gordon) right as the ball bounced away. If I pump fake, I don’t know, hindsight’s 20-20 on those.”
Peavy acknowledged that, “It’s going to take some time for me and Buster to get to know each other,” but said he mostly felt comfortable returning to the familiarity of an N.L. West stadium against a division opponent. Peavy pitched for the Padres from 2002-09 and entered with a 14-2 record against the Dodgers.
“That’s tough when you give a good team extra outs,” Peavy said. “At the same time, that’s what being a team is about – I’ve got to pick up the team and do a better job.”
Peavy said he thought Crawford was out in front on the pitch he pulled down the right-field line for the fifth-inning triple, but said of the first-pitch cutter Ramirez hit back up the middle to score Puig: “I need to make a better pitch there.” Peavy departed after the sixth having thrown 102 pitches, including a fastball that reached 93 mph at times.
“Just hate the way it turned out,” he said. “I can get much better, and I expect to be much better.”
The Giants staked Peavy to a lead in the third inning – their first since Thursday – when Hunter Pence chopped a two-out infield single over the head of Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu to score Uggla, who led off the inning with a walk. It was the Giants’ first run in the series off a Dodgers starting pitcher.
Three singles led to another Giants run in the fourth, and Posey homered off Ryu in the fifth for the team’s first extra-base hit since Wednesday. But the Giants managed just one more hit, a seventh-inning single by Brandon Crawford, and finished the three-game series being outscored 17-4.
These teams won’t meet again until September, by which point the Giants should have back several players who were missing this weekend, including Brandon Belt and Angel Pagan. That they were at less than full strength for this series was pointed out to Bochy, but he balked at using that as a reason for the sweep.
“I’ll never think like that,” Bochy said. “Sometimes, because of injuries you’re forced to bring guys up, and you’re going to have growing pains; you understand that.
“Sure, we probably shot ourselves in the foot today, but they came out fighting. They just came up short today.”