Peavy's gem helps Giants gain ground on LA
Veteran allows one run in 7 2/3 innings; West deficit at three games
PHOENIX -- Somebody slipped truth serum into the Giants' water supply Tuesday. After San Francisco's taut 2-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks, a couple of Giants who were instrumental in ending the team's three-game losing streak confessed to scoreboard-watching and contemplating a Wild Card playoff -- activities that players insist they avoid.
Shortstop Brandon Crawford delivered a seventh-inning sacrifice fly that broke a 1-1 tie, denied Arizona a ninth-inning leadoff single by ranging up the middle to snare Mark Trumbo's grounder, then displayed refreshing candor. Asked if he monitored the score of the division-leading Dodgers' game at Colorado, Crawford said, "I may have peeked."
Jake Peavy, who worked 7 2/3 innings to win his sixth game in seven starts, articulated why capturing the National League West would be preferable to securing a Wild Card berth for a one-game playoff against Pittsburgh.
"Nobody wants to play a Game 7 right off the bat [and face] a Francisco Liriano [or] a Gerrit Cole," Peavy said.
Peavy, who's scheduled to start Monday's series opener at Dodger Stadium, revealed his preoccupation with winning.
"I won't lie. I was just in the shower thinking about Dee Gordon and how I'm going to get him out," he said. "Isn't that crazy? Isn't that unbelievable?"
Combined with Los Angeles' 10-4 setback at Colorado, the Giants trimmed their NL West deficit to three games behind the first-place Dodgers. San Francisco also remained 2 1/2 games ahead of Pittsburgh and four games up on Milwaukee for the league's top Wild Card berth.
Mostly silenced by Arizona starter Josh Collmenter (10-8), the Giants opened the scoring on Buster Posey's fourth-inning homer, his 21st of the season. Collmenter's straight overhand delivery befuddles many hitters, but Posey's an exception. The Giants catcher owns a lifetime .611 average (11-for-18) off Collmenter with three homers and eight RBIs.
"Who knows? It's just one of those baseball oddities, I guess," Posey said.
Arizona pulled even in the sixth as Chris Owings tripled and came home on A.J. Pollock's single. The Giants inched ahead in the seventh as Hunter Pence singled leading off, sped to third on Travis Ishikawa's single and scored on Crawford's fly to center.
That sufficed for Peavy, who has recorded a 1.34 ERA during his seven-start surge.
"You get a good feeling when he steps on the mound," Posey said.
Peavy was as much of a watchmaker as he was a pitcher. He exercised precision, walking one while yielding five hits, and turned back the clock to his heyday with the Padres, when he ranked among the Majors' best. The 33-year-old departed with runners on first and second in the eighth inning, but Sergio Romo ended the threat by coaxing Pollock's fly to right field.
Varying the elevation of his pitches, a ploy he learned from the superb reliever Trevor Hoffman when they were San Diego teammates, has helped Peavy thrive. This strategy is commonly referred to as changing eye levels.
"East and west is not as key as up and down," Peavy said.
D-backs manager Kirk Gibson comprehended Peavy's mastery, noting that many of the right-hander's deliveries "finished right at the top of the zone."
Santiago Casilla pitched a perfect ninth for his 16th save, but the first out was the toughest. Trumbo's bouncer appeared destined for center field until Crawford corralled it behind second base and made an off-balance but accurate throw to first from the outfield grass.
"He hit it into the ground a little bit, so I knew I had a chance," said Crawford, who made the play despite playing Trumbo to pull the ball. "He's a big power hitter, and that's what you do with big power hitters,"