San Francisco Giants Morning Minute: Peavy Keeps Momentum Rolling

May 13, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; San Francisco Giants second baseman Joe Panik (12) celebrates with coaches and teammates after defeating the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-1 at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
May 13, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; San Francisco Giants second baseman Joe Panik (12) celebrates with coaches and teammates after defeating the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-1 at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

In this edition of the San Francisco Giants Morning Minute, we discuss Jake Peavy and the starters’ momentum, Denard Span’s big day, and Johnny Cueto’s hardware.

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Good morning, San Francisco Giants’ fans, and welcome to another edition of the Giants Morning Minute. On Saturday night, the Giants beat the Diamondbacks for the third straight day, extending their winning streak to four games, the longest of the season for them. Hunter Strickland got the win, his first decision of the season, while Daniel Hudson was stuck with the loss to even his record at 1-1. Cory Gearrin earned his second career save, and first since May 20th, 2013.

San Francisco is three games over .500 for the first time since they were 6-3, but remain in a virtual tie with the Los Angeles Dodgers atop the National League West. Los Angeles is .003 percentage points ahead of San Francisco. Here’s what went on Saturday night.

1 – Jake Peavy Keeps the Momentum Rolling

Over the past week or so, the Giants’ starting staff has turned in some great performances, and Jake Peavy kept the pace on Saturday night. The much-maligned 34-year-old pitcher turned in one of his best performances of the season, pitching six innings of three-hit ball, allowing just one run to cross the plate. He struck out five while walking two.

Peavy got off to a slow start against the Diamondbacks, needing 19 pitches to work a scoreless first inning and 28 pitches to work out of a second-inning jam. In that second frame, Peavy allowed a leadoff walk and the next batter reached on a Matt Duffy error before Chris Owings roped a double down the left field line to score the only run Peavy would allow.

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Peavy retired the final three batters of that second, and needed only nine pitches in the third and fifth innings to keep his pitch count under control. That allowed him to finish the sixth inning with 94 pitches. He retired 15 of the last 17 batters he faced before handing the ball off to his bullpen, who surrendered a two-run lead and cost Peavy his chance at his second win of the season.

Peavy’s strong start on Saturday kept up the momentum that Giants’ starters had picked up in the prior four games. Since Tuesday, Giants starting pitchers have thrown 35.2 innings in five games, allowing 28 hits and seven runs in that span. Each starter has gone at least six innings, and no one has allowed more than a pair of runs.

2 – Denard Span Breaking Out

Giants’ leadoff man Denard Span has shaken off a slow start to the season, and is having a tremendous series in Arizona. He woke up on Thursday with a .246 average, but that number has bloated in the desert.

On Thursday and Friday, Span collected two hits on both days, but saved his best for Saturday. He collected four hits on the day, his first game with at least four hits since April 28th last year, when Span (a Washington National at that time) picked up five hits against the Atlanta Braves, and the 23rd such game of his career. Span will wake up on Sunday morning hitting .280, a 34-point gain in three days.

Span wasted no time making his presence felt on Saturday, as he tripled to lead off the game on Patrick Corbin’s fifth pitch of the night. Joe Panik‘s broken bat bloop drove him home. Span followed with singles in each of his next three at-bats, but was erased on two double plays and a fielder’s choice. In the ninth inning, he was hit by a pitch to reach base for the fifth time, and scored the go-ahead run on Buster Posey‘s game-winning double.

Span must be taking classes at Brandon Belt‘s school of reaching base. Getting on five times raised Span’s on-base percentage to .377 on the year, third-best on the team. Speaking of Belt, he reached on a single in the fourth inning Saturday, extending his streak to 22 consecutive games reaching base safely.

3 – Johnny Cueto‘s Hardware

Johnny Cueto is now wearing the orange and black (and Giants’ fans can be very happy about that), but he received his World Series ring from the Kansas City Royals on Saturday night. Kyle Vena, the Royals’ director of baseball administration, made the trip to Arizona and presented the beautiful piece of well-earned hardware to Cueto. Of course, Cueto doesn’t want that to be his only ring.

Next: Giants Morning Minute: Big Three Rolling, Casilla Get Back on Horse

That’s it for this edition of the Morning Minute. Up next, the Giants finish their series with the Diamondbacks, turning to Matt Cain with a chance to sweep Arizona. Cain is looking to build off his best start of the season thus far, during which he went eight innings and gave up just two runs to the Toronto Blue Jays. The Diamondbacks counter with Rubby De La Rosa, whose only task is to avoid the sweep.