SAN FRANCISCO – Sometimes you need a loophole to win a court decision. Or, in the Giants’ case, score a run.
The Giants took what the law gave them Wednesday afternoon, then busted their case open in a seven-run seventh inning. As a result, they sprung “Joliet” Jake Peavy from his winless prison in a 7-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Thursday at AT&T Park.
Peavy was losing 1-0 in the seventh, and on his way to being beaten by one solo home run from Adam Dunn, before the catcher collision rule finally allowed the Giants to get on the board.
Gregor Blanco was very much out at the plate when he tried to score on Joe Panik’s ground ball to first base but Giants manager Bruce Bochy asked for a replay review, umpires complied and it was determined that White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers was in the lane before receiving the throw.
White Sox manager Robin Ventura went into full Piniella mode the moment plate umpire Chris Segal took off his headset and rendered the safe call, kicking dirt across the plate to earn an automatic ejection.
Still, with Peavy lifted for a pinch hitter, the Giants needed one more hit to make a winner of him for the first time since April 25. Joaquin Arias drew a pinch walk and Angel Pagan came up with the clutch, two-out single that put the Giants ahead. Hunter Pence and Buster Posey followed with RBI singles, and Dunn clanked a ball in right field for a two-run error that really opened some rather rusty gates.
Peavy’s winless streak finally ended as he picked up his first victory in four starts as a Giant. He had been 0-12 in his previous 18 starts with the Giants and Boston Red Sox.
Starting pitching report
Peavy (1-3 as a Giant) held the White Sox to a run on four hits and three walks (one intentional) while striking out three in seven innings.
He paid for a pitch to Dunn that the big right fielder golfed into McCovey Cove for what surprisingly was the first splash hit of his career. (Although is it really a “splash” hit when it nearly lands in San Leandro?)
Apart from that, Peavy did what he does best. He angrily snapped off pitches and worked out of trouble, especially in the sixth inning after Alejandro De Aza hit a one-out double. Peavy snarled and went into a fit on the mound after Jose Abreu beat out an infield single, but he issued an intentional walk to Dunn and got Alexei Ramirez to pop out to strand the bases loaded.
Peavy threw 100 pitches, 64 for strikes. The victory was his second in 24 starts this season.
Sergio Romo finished the game in a non-save situation.
At the plate
The Giants had scored seven runs just twice in their previous 22 home games. They collected that sum in the seventh inning alone, but it took a literal interpretation of experimental Rule 7.13 to break the ice.
Right-hander Jose Quintana had held them scoreless through six innings – the Giants even wasted a leadoff triple from Buster Posey, of all things to drop from the sky, in the fourth – before Michael Morse dumped a one-out single into center field in the seventh.
Adam Duvall followed with a single that moved Blanco, a pinch runner, to third base. Then came Panik’s grounder to first base and nearly 10 minutes of umpires on headphones.
A day earlier, Ventura had asked for a review of the collision rule when Posey applied a tag at the plate to see if the catcher was set up in the lane before the ball arrived. It took barely a minute for replay officials in New York to determine that he had not. For Ventura, it was a free shot, like calling out “objection” in a courtroom.
A day later, it was Bochy who objected. And the difference between Posey’s positioning the previous night and Flowers on Thursday was small but clear. Posey’s left foot was in fair territory. Flowers was over the chalk as he received the throw from first base.
Even though Blanco was obviously out to the naked eye, the call was reversed and the Giants were awarded the tying run. Ventura was ejected even before his dust kicking escapade, which had to be his most entertaining on-field tantrum since Ryan put him in a headlock and gave him a series of atomic noogies.
Even though he’d been ejected, Ventura still got in a challenge of his own. He successfully argued that Duvall shouldn’t have been awarded third base. After a replay review of the initial review (really, and yes, Abner Doubleday was spinning in his grave), Duvall was sent back to second base. And thus, it marked the first successful challenge by an ejected manager in major league history.
As sad as that 10 minutes of inactivity was for baseball in general, Quintana tried to one-up it when he issued a walk to Arias, who was hitting .196. Ronald Belisario entered, Pagan singled to give the Giants the lead, and the hit parade continued.
Dunn in right field is not baseball at its best, either.
With an official attendance of 41,725, the Giants extended their streak of announcing sellouts to 307 consecutive regular-season games.
The Giants take Thursday off before beginning a three-game weekend series with the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday at AT&T Park. Madison Bumgarner (13-9, 3.22 ERA) takes the mound against Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels (6-6, 2.37). First pitch is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. PDT. It’ll be Tim Hudson (8-9, 2.81) against right-hander Kyle Kendrick (5-11, 4.88) on Saturday and Tim Lincecum (9-8, 4.51) vs. right-hander David Buchanan (6-6, 4.40) on Sunday.