SAN FRANCISCO -- When Jake Peavy was still working his way back from back and hip issues earlier this season, one of his Triple-A rehab outings came against the El Paso Chihuahuas, who were then managed by Pat Murphy. Shortly thereafter, Murphy was promoted to interim manager of the San Diego Padres, whom Peavy faced Friday night.
"I’m pretty sure he’d tell you tonight was a different guy," Peavy said.
The Giants beat Murphy’s Padres on Friday, 9-1, behind seven strong innings by Peavy, who allowed just two hits and retired 17 consecutive batters at one point after allowing his lone run on a Justin Upton homer in the second inning. Peavy needed just 79 pitches to finish out the seventh and beat the Padres -- with whom he broke into the majors and pitched from 2002-09 -- for the first time in his career.
Peavy’s first start this season also came against San Diego, and he lasted just four innings while giving up four runs. After only one more outing, the Giants put him on the DL. His rehab starts - as Peavy indicated - weren’t exactly promising, as he compiled a 6.12 ERA in Sacramento. But since returning to the Giants, Peavy has a 3.65 ERA in 13 starts, and has been arguably the most consistent rotation member aside from Madison Bumgarner.
"He’s had a couple innings, but really besides that he’s thrown the ball with anybody on the staff I think," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "He’s pitched his heart out since he’s come off of that DL. Tonight was another case of that."
While rehabbing from his back and hip issues, Peavy said, he was all too aware of what he was not doing -- helping the Giants, as he did so much down the stretch in 2014. The Giants signed Peavy to a two-year deal last offseason planning for him to help round out the rotation behind Bumgarner. And Peavy’s numbers since returning from the DL are an encouraging sign that, if healthy, he can fulfill that role going into 2016.
"I hope I’m showing the value," Peavy said. "There was none there when I was hurt. But I’m the same guy that I was last year down the stretch for this team. And I feel like we’ve got a good chance to win on my day, and I feel like the guys believe that same way.
"When I’m healthy, I feel like I can beat big-league ball-clubs … I’m looking forward to finishing strong and doing a lot more of it -- hopefully all season long next year."
Bochy said Peavy could have pitched beyond the seventh given his low pitch count, but he opted to pinch-hit for Peavy in the seventh inning with two runners on and one out in an attempt to "break the game open." It worked, as Jarrett Parker skied a pinch-hit ground rule double to right-center, scoring a run. Matt Duffy’s two-run single then capped a four-run inning.
Peavy, though, had already helped his own cause with the bat when he lined an RBI single to right field against Padres right-hander Andrew Cashner in the fifth inning. It was Peavy’s sixth hit of the year in 28 at-bats, and he also executed a sacrifice bunt on a high fastball from Cashner that helped the Giants score a run in the second inning.
The bunt wasn’t an easy proposition given Cashner throws in the mid-to-high 90s -- and given Peavy’s notorious bad eyesight, which he said leaves him "legally blind" when he doesn’t wear corrective lenses. Peavy was asked how he even sees the ball when hitting and said he isn’t sure -- he’s able to focus for brief moments, and while he isn’t picking up spin like the Giants’ regular hitters, he gives himself "a chance."
"I think everybody’s just going up there grinding, really trying to impact the game, any which way we can, because that’s just what this team’s about," Peavy said. "You don’t want to give an at-bat away."
* Thanks to Peavy’s outing and a 14-hit attack by the lineup -- 13 of which were singles -- the Giants gained a game in the N.L. West on the Dodgers -- who lost in Arizona, 12-4 -- for the first time since August 21. Bochy was well aware that it had been "a while since we picked up a game," and acknowledged he was glancing at the scoreboard throughout Friday’s game to keep an eye on the Dodgers.
"You never lose hope," Bochy said. "It’s evident we need some help to hopefully sneak back into this thing, that’s what has to happen. But meanwhile we’ve got to do what we can control, and that’s going out there and playing good baseball."
Peavy said the Giants are "just trying to get within striking distance" of the Dodgers prior to a four-game series at AT&T Park that begins Sept. 28. After Friday’s win, they’re 7 1/2 games back.
"We can make this thing interesting," Peavy said. "Ain’t nobody in this locker room thought about giving up."
* Peavy’s limited eyesight -- Buster Posey routinely paints his fingers (not just the nail) so Peavy can read his signs -- meant he didn’t immediately react to the defensive play of the night. In the seventh, Matt Kemp drove a fly ball to straightaway center field, where Angel Pagan leapt and reached over the wall to rob Kemp of a home run.
"When he threw it in," Peavy cracked, "I was really happy."
Pagan said the ball carried a little further than he thought it would but that it was still high enough as he was approaching the wall that he was able to take his eye off it for a second and time his jump.
"When I climbed the wall and looked, the ball was right there, it was just perfect timing," Pagan said. "I can’t even believe it, it was so perfect."
Bochy said he initially thought the ball had cleared the wall, and it was only when Pagan threw it back in that he realized it was a catch. It was the kind of play Pagan likely would not have been able to make for long stretches this season, as he dealt with injuries to his back and knees.
"He’s been running better, his knee feels better, you can tell the way he’s running around," Bochy said. "He wasn’t 100 percent, he probably still isn’t now, but he’s healthier and that makes a huge difference."
* The Giants got at least one hit from every player in the starting lineup, including two from No. 8 hitter Ehire Adrianza, who also walked twice and had his first career game reaching base four times. Brandon Crawford is still being considered day-to-day, and in his absence the Giants would love to see some offensive production from Adrianza, who is batting just .168 on the season.
"Good for AD -- I know he’s had his struggles," Bochy said. "And he played a very nice shortstop, too. He’s a better hitter than what’s been going on. He’s been fighting it, he’s probably lost some confidence. But hopefully this gets him going again."
Parker also had a nice contribution with his pinch-hit double, especially given the fact he was just recalled Friday -- and had been at home in Virginia since the Triple-A season ended on Monday. Despite the layoff, Parker wasted little time by jumping on the second pitch he saw from Odrisamer Despaigne in the seventh.
Parker said the Giants had told him to stay ready in case they needed him in September, so he was still working out and hitting at a facility near his home. When he got the call from the Giants, he said, he was sleeping -- he let his parents know, and his dad dropped him off at the airport on the way to work.
"They were really happy," Parker said. "My little niece, she’s about to turn four, she was upset. I told her I’d buy her a toy."
* The Giants’ eight-run lead in the ninth gave Bochy a chance to bring in his son, Brett, to pitch for the first time this season -- and also led to a funny scene at AT&T Park. After Brett put two runners on with two outs, Bochy walked to the mound, with Yusmeiro Petit warming up in the bullpen.
And the crowd started booing.
"I was kind of caught there," Bochy said.
Petit hasn’t pitched since August 31, and Bochy said he knows he needs to get the right-hander some work. But as he approached the mound, he said, he heard the boos too.
"I’m not going to lie to you, the crowd influenced me," Bochy said. "I could hear the crowd, and I told Brett, ‘I need to give Petey a little work -- but you got this hitter.’"
As Bochy left the mound with Brett still in the game, the boos turned into chants of "Bo-chy!" And Brett finished the game by striking out Jedd Gyorko swinging for the last out.
"He did a nice job there," Bochy said. "I was glad to see him keep his poise."
And to be able to give him the chance.
* If the Giants still have a miracle run in them, they’ll almost certainly have to win when Madison Bumgarner takes the mound. That happens Saturday, as the left-hander (17-7, 3.05 ERA) opposes Padres righty Ian Kennedy (8-12, 3.88). First pitch at 6:05 p.m.