Peavy's at-bat key to Giants' pivotal inning

Starter walked to load bases in six-run third frame

Peavy's at-bat key to Giants' pivotal inning

SAN FRANCISCO -- The scoreboard totals were correct, as they say on press-box loudspeakers throughout organized baseball after a game's final out. But the Giants' imposing tally of hits and runs in Saturday's 12-6 victory over the Washington Nationals didn't include what may have been the evening's most essential offensive element.

Jake Peavy, whose primary responsibility was pitching, drew a third-inning walk that loaded the bases with nobody out and helped generate a six-run uprising. Significantly, all of the runs scored after Peavy's free pass.

Peavy batted with Kelby Tomlinson on third base, Hector Sanchez on first, nobody out and Washington leading, 2-0. Had Peavy attempted a safety-squeeze sacrifice bunt, as most observers might have expected, a run may have scored. But the Giants also might have had one out, setting up a potential double play, if a runner were on first base. Under another likely scenario, Peavy would have bunted to advance Sanchez without Tomlinson scoring or reaching base himself, leaving runners on second and third.

Gregor Blanco's subsequent RBI single might still have happened. But Matt Duffy might never have received the opportunity to line his bases-loaded, three-run double. Hence, the rest of the game might have developed differently.

That's why Giants manager Bruce Bochy said, "I thought one of the biggest at-bats, all day, was Peavy's. It changed the inning, really."

Bochy on win

Peavy was hitting .188 at the time of his plate appearance -- respectable, but not formidable. Yet he managed to coax a seven-pitch walk from Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez after falling behind on the count, 1-2.

"I'm trying as hard as our position players," Peavy said. "You see the at-bats that they were giving (Gonzalez) -- albeit I'm obviously not as talented on that end of the spectrum -- but I want to give my best effort."

Bochy verified Peavy's sincerity.

"He competes up there," Bochy said. "I'm not going to say he's a good hitter. But he battled and laid off some good pitches."

Peavy (3-5) allowed five runs and nine hits in 5 2/3 innings -- a statistical line that usually includes the initial "L" for loss. But Peavy ultimately survived by generating some of his own offensive support.

Said Duffy, who amassed seven RBIs in the last two games: "Our pitchers don't have the best batting averages, and they don't hit homers except for 'Bum' [Madison Bumgarner]. Yet they're not easy outs a lot of times."

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.