Kuip & Miller: Giants did not have much room for error
Yusmeiro Petit earned his first MLB win in four years Tuesday in Denver. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
Pablo Sandoval hit his 10th home run of the season on Tuesday, reaching double digits for the fifth consecutive year. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
DENVER -- The hot stove league will start up soon enough.
The Giants have their own free agents to try to retain. There’s franchise icon Tim Lincecum, heart-and-soul outfielder Hunter Pence and Javier Lopez, who is such a boost against lefties that Bruce Bochy should have to pay $2.99 to the app store every time he uses him.
And way below the radar, there is Yusmeiro Petit.
He’s not back-burner business. For Brian Sabean and Co., he’s further back than that -- somewhere in the far recesses of the cupboard behind the Uncle Ben’s and next to that box of pineapple Jell-O you thought for five minutes was a good idea back in 2008.
But a guy like Petit is not insignificant.
Did you know he had 91 strikeouts and just 13 walks in Fresno this year?
The stuff is fringy and he has to live on, well, the fringes of the strike zone. But he’s not going to beat himself. And when you need to call up someone in an emergency, when the cupboard is bare, it’s always nice when your replacement doesn’t go out there, throw ball one and make the defense all flat-footed.
It’s nice when he doesn’t beat himself.
Especially when he’s pitching at Coors Field.
Petit might not be a central figure in Giants lore, but he gave the entire team a feel-good moment in the Giants’ 5-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies Tuesday night. He threw first-pitch strikes to 20 of 26 batters while holding the Rockies to two runs in six innings.
[RECAP: Giants 5, Rockies 3]
It was his second big league start in four years. And it was his first victory since 2009. It was so long ago, he accomplished it in an Arizona Diamondbacks uniform -- and against the Giants, actually.
Hunter Pence beamed when told that Petit won for the first time in four years.
“I didn’t know that,” Pence said. “I just know the way he’s worked this year, in spring training and the times he’s come up. He’s extremely humble and he’s great in the clubhouse. So I’m pretty over-ecstatic to hear that news.”
Bochy wasn’t quite “over-ecstatic.” But he definitely smiled when told what the win meant to Petit.
“Congratulations to him,” Bochy said. “He did a great job. He just threw strikes and kind of worked from there. He kept his poise. He’s been around. He knows what he’s doing. He showed it tonight.”
Petit speaks English well, but he asked Pablo Sandoval to help him translate for reporters. He usually doesn’t address crowds.
“That’s one of the things when you get here -- try to get ahead, get in a strike one situation, so you don’t get damaged out there,” Petit said, through the Panda. “I feel happy. When I came back to this level again, I came to win games. Thank you to my family for their support.”
I asked Petit: What did he think of Sandoval’s home run?
The Panda started laughing, and answered for the pitcher.
“Unbelievable!” he said.
If you missed the story on Hunter Pence’s home run Tuesday night, make sure to check it out. There’s also an update on his outlook heading to free agency. (He’d still forgo it to sign a long-term deal, but the Giants haven’t offered him anything yet.) And there’s a little on the origin of the salsa handshake with Sandoval that is becoming a pregame tradition.