SAN FRANCISCO -- Hunter Pence collected four hits to back Jake Peavy's six-plus innings of three-run ball as the San Francisco Giants defeated the Oakland Athletics, 9-3, in the series opener Friday night at AT&T Park.
Pence doubled in a run in the first, singled in the third, doubled again in the fifth and legged out an infield single in the sixth to cap off the right fielder's first four-hit game of the season. The Giants improved to 22-7 in games Pence starts.
"He just has so much energy," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He certainly makes us a different club."
Peavy worked into the sixth inning for the fourth consecutive outing, allowing five hits and no walks. He has now won back-to-back starts after beginning the season with four straight losses.
"When he's healthy, that's how he can throw the ball," Bochy said. "He's really been consistent since he's been back. ... He makes us a better rotation. He's pitching his heart out."
Jesse Chavez was unable to make it out of the fourth inning for the first time this year, allowing four runs on eight hits.
The Giants topped the A's for the 14th time in their last 17 meetings at AT&T Park.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Early birds:Angel Pagan led off the bottom of the first with a single and moved to third on Matt Duffy's one-out base hit. Buster Posey then hit a sacrifice fly to drive home Pagan and Pence followed with a two-out RBI double to give the Giants a 2-0 cushion. San Francisco is now 38-21 this season when it scores first.
"It makes a huge difference when you get on the board early," Peavy said. "The boys just keep piling on, keep having good at-bats. That's who we are."
Chavez labors: A typically efficient Chavez couldn't even record an out in the fourth inning, after completing no fewer than five frames in each of his previous 16 starts. The right-hander labored throughout, needing 34 pitches in the first inning and 80 total before departing with four runs and eight hits to his name, forcing the A's to get at least five innings from their bullpen for a second consecutive day.
"They made him work pretty hard," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "He was just missing with early-count stuff to where he was getting behind, and they were fouling off a bunch of pitches, made him work, took the ball the other way. Sometimes you have to give the hitters credit, and they had a good approach tonight." More >
Shutdown inning: Peavy allowed back-to-back singles to open up the second inning before Brett Lawrie grounded into a fielder's choice. The right-hander then got Eric Sogard to hit into a 3-6-3 double play to escape the jam and maintain the early lead.
"I made some pitches early," Peavy said. "The double-play ball was big. Great play by [Brandon Crawford] and [Brandon Belt] keeping the momentum on our side."
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
For the first time this season, Giants reliever George Kontos allowed an inherited runner to score when he gave up an RBI single to Sogard in the seventh inning. He had stranded each of his 26 inherited runners prior to Friday.
After Posey singled to lead off the bottom of the sixth, Pence hit a high chopper over the pitcher's mound. Sogard fielded the ball and fired to first to get the hustling Pence. Bochy challenged that Pence beat the throw, and the ruling on the field was overturned.
WHAT'S NEXT A's: Right-hander Chris Bassitt will officially be promoted from Triple-A Nashville on Saturday for an Interleague start against the Giants at AT&T Park, with first pitch scheduled for 1:05 p.m. PT. Bassitt, who has a 2.65 ERA in three starts for the A's this year, is expected to remain in the rotation moving forward in place of the injured Jesse Hahn (right forearm strain).
Giants:Madison Bumgarner takes the mound Saturday for the Giants, who are 11-8 when their ace gets the ball. In Bumgarner's last outing he completed five innings, allowing one run on four hits in a 2-1 win over the D-backs.