SAN FRANCISCO -- The difference between Jake Peavy and Jake Arrieta, besides their surnames, would appear to be a vast difference in skill.
But take a closer look at the subtleties of Friday night's second inning, when the Chicago Cubs surged for five runs off Peavy that propelled them past the Giants, 8-1. Peavy could have made matters more competitive had he executed a better pitch or two.
Peavy's in no imminent danger of losing his spot in the Giants' rotation, though his 1 2/3-inning stint matched the second-shortest start of his career. His next two scheduled starts will come against San Diego and Atlanta, who have become part of the National League's soft underbelly.
Peavy also entered the series opener against the Cubs having made solid starts in each of his previous two outings, and he could build a case for himself by stating that losing to the Cubs, who own the Major Leagues' best record at 29-11, is no shame.
"I felt better tonight, stuff-wise and with life [on his pitches]," Peavy said. "When teams are going that well and are that professional, you have to earn your wins and they're going to make you throw your 3-2 pitches."
Or, in Peavy's case, two-strike pitches in general. Four Cubs victimized him on two-strike counts in the second inning -- including Kris Bryant, whose three-run homer concluded the inning's scoring and essentially settled matters.
Peavy pointed out that he escaped a first-and-second, nobody-out jam in the first inning by retiring Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Ben Zobrist, Chicago's 3-4-5 hitters.
"It says that my stuff was fine and my execution was there," Peavy said.
Peavy's execution, at the very least, deserted him in the fateful second inning. He yielded Jorge Soler's leadoff single on a 1-2 pitch, walked Dexter Fowler on a 3-2 delivery and allowed Tommy La Stella's loud RBI single off the right-field wall on another full-count pitch. Then came Bryant's homer on a 2-2 cutter that lacked sufficient movement.
"We were a strike away from being in the dugout," Peavy said, referring to almost retiring Bryant. Almost, of course, isn't good enough. And given Arrieta's 39-0 record with at least five runs of support, the Giants were truly done. Arrieta ultimately lasted seven innings and yielded just four hits, as well as San Francisco's lone run.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy pointed out the devastating combination of Bryant's homer and Arrieta's pitching.
"When it's 2-0, it's a game at that point," Bochy said. "You get behind 5-0 against Arrieta, it's an uphill climb."