It’s been some kind of homestand for the San Francisco Giants.
They won five straight, lost one to the best pitcher in baseball, shut out two National League opponents and walked off twice. Starters went a combined 4-1 with a 1.91 ERA, Johnny Cueto pitched a complete game, and the Giants squeaked out 20 runs in support.
Wednesday afternoon they took a ninth-straight win over the San Diego Padres — a streak the Giants (30-19) have never had against this NL West foe — after Brandon Crawford‘s RBI single in the 10th secured the 4-3 win. The walk-off marked the Giants’ fifth. They lead the league.
The Giants are on a roll, Crawford mused:
“We’re kind of putting everything together.”
That may be an understatement. Pitching, hitting and defense especially are clicking despite Bruce Bochy‘s frantic moves to plug bench guys in place of the injured. Every move, so far, has paid off. Wednesday, he plopped Kelby Tomlinson into left field.
Tomlinson made just his second start in the outfield and already has a highlight reel out to show for it. Yangervis Solarte thought he had an easy route home from second after Melvin Upton Jr. lined one to left, but Tomlinson gunned a perfect throw to catcher Trevor Brown, who swiped out Solarte.
Tomlinson said it’s just a baseball play — ball players develop that instinct and feel as they grow through the game. Gregor Blanco nudged him with some tips for navigating the rough terrain, and Tomlinson still looked wobbly as he ran routes. But even he was surprised at the throw’s accuracy:
“I came out trying to make a good strong throw and didn’t expect to make that good of a throw, but fortunately for us it went right to him and got him in time.”
Jake Peavy was particularly impressed:
“I thought Kelby played his rear end off.”
Success seems to be running contagious in this Giants clubhouse. Even a struggling Peavy, who drudged through a five-run, seven-hit, 1-2/3 outing against the Cubs, found a bit of light Wednesday against San Diego (19-29).
Peavy plowed through the slumping Padres lineup for 6-2/3 innings, allowing just one run on six hits and fanning four. He was uncharacteristically efficient, too, accumulating just 70 pitches through six innings.
Peavy said he wasn’t forcing his pitches today. He shook off the funk and let his stuff speak for itself:
“I was obviously better today than I was the other night. Just couldn’t get in the dugout that night (against the Cubs), stuff was a lot the same as it was against Chicago and stayed in control for the most part.”
The Giants even kept their RISP magic alive for him. Tomlinson took his momentum to the plate, blooping an RBI single in the second to score Crawford, who had singled and advanced to third on a ground out. The defense was lagging, and Crawford said he capitalized:
“I knew they were shifted over, I know if there’s a ball hit like that there isn’t going to be anyone at third base.”
Peavy had two runs and looked clear for his second win, but trouble was brewing in the seventh. Blanco missed Brett Wallace‘s double by an inch and Alexei Ramirez singled him home for the Padres’ first run of the game, and third of the series.
Peavy got the hook just 82 pitches and two outs into the seventh, and Josh Osich couldn’t hold the line through the eighth. Solarte took him deep with a two-run bomb, tying the game at 3-3.
The Giants weren’t going to sail off with the easy sweep. But they were up for the challenge, said Peavy:
“Shows so much resilience there in giving up a late lead and fighting back and finding a way to win there … it was a good day.”
Walk-offs are more fun, anyway, said Crawford:
“At the end of the day, no matter how you win it, it’s still a win.”
Things got scary when Brandon Belt took an awkward slide into second base in the eighth. His foot got caught under his leg and his ankle twisted. Bruce Bochy said after the game that he has a mild ankle sprain. Belt even said he felt like he could have stayed in the game, but he was clutching a big boot after the game. He’ll be out for a few days, at least.