Peavy plays stopper, cools Cubs for big win

Peavy plays stopper, cools Cubs for big win

SAN FRANCISCO -- Depleted in numbers but not in spirit, the San Francisco Giants reverted to their familiar combination for success, featuring plenty of pitching and just enough offense, to outlast the Chicago Cubs, 4-2, in a tense, taut Wednesday night encounter.

The Giants, who lost their previous five games against the Cubs this year, broke a 2-2 tie with a pair of sixth-inning runs off Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks as Brandon Belt tripled and Buster Posey and Kelby Tomlinson both laced RBI doubles.

Tomlinson's RBI double

The uprising made a winner of Jake Peavy (4-6), who lasted 6 1/3 innings and escaped a first-and-third, one-out jam in the sixth inning by striking out Anthony Rizzo and retiring Kris Bryant, who doubled in his previous two at-bats, on a fly ball to right.

Chicago absorbed only its fifth defeat in its last 26 games as its lead over San Francisco for the National League's second Wild Card spot shrank to 6 1/2 games. The Giants remained 2 1/2 games behind first-place Los Angeles in the NL West.

"We needed a [win]," Peavy said. "I don't think it was a secret."

The Giants, whose lineup has been riddled with injuries, lost another player for the evening when center fielder Gregor Blanco was scratched with a strained left hip. They also functioned without shortstop Brandon Crawford, who's day-to-day with a stiff left oblique. Additionally, third baseman Matt Duffy sprained his right ankle in the first inning but played the entire game.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Peavy produces: The Giants have lacked durability from their starting pitchers, but finally got some as Peavy worked into the seventh inning for the fourth time in 12 outings. He allowed only three hits after the first inning.

"That was probably as sharp as I've seen him this year," Posey said.

Bochy on Peavy, win

First things first: The Cubs took advantage of miscues by the Giants to take a 2-0 lead in the first but then lost the lead in the bottom of the inning as Hendricks served up Nori Aoki's leadoff homer and then walked three of the eight batters he faced. Hendricks did settle down, facing the minimum over the next four innings.

"It was kind of a sloppy first that permitted them to get back in and that pretty much was the difference in the game," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said.

Aoki's leadoff homer

Floundering afield: Typically efficient on defense, the Giants committed a couple of unusual lapses. Posey and Peavy collided, then quickly disengaged, as they stared at Kyle Schwarber's first-inning popup. It fell for a double, which led to two runs. Tomlinson mishandled Schwarber's grounder leading off the sixth inning, resulting in an infield single that put Peavy in trouble.

Bochy said that without the miscues, Peavy might have pitched a complete game.

"I think this might have been one of the guttiest efforts I've ever seen by a pitcher," Bochy said.

Glovework: Shortstop Addison Russell helped Hendricks on defense, although he got off to a rough start. The Giants loaded the bases in the first and Juan Perez hit a grounder to Russell, who threw to second for the force. But Russell misjudged Tomlinson's speed and the throw was too late, and a run scored to tie the game at 2. Russell made up for that with a dazzling play in the third. The Giants had a runner at first and nobody out when Posey lined a ball to the rookie shortstop, who snared it while sliding and spun on his right knee in time for a 6-4-3 double play.

"It's just instinctive, it's just reaction," Russell said of the double play. "I saw the ball good off the bat and I just had to do what I had to do to make the play."

Russell's sweet snag to turn DP

QUOTABLE
"I grew up a Giants fan so I went to a lot of games here growing up. This is how it was when I came here. It was fun to pitch in." -- Hendricks

Hendricks strikes out Peavy

WHAT'S NEXT
Cubs: Dan Haren will make his fifth start with the Cubs in the series finale against the Giants. The right-hander, acquired July 31 from the Marlins, did not get a decision in his last outing against the Braves. He's given up a home run in each of his four starts with the Cubs. He did win against the Giants on May 7, giving up two earned runs over seven innings. First pitch is scheduled for 2:45 p.m. CT.

Giants: San Francisco will turn to its ace, Madison Bumgarner, in Thursday's series finale beginning at 12:45 p.m. PT. Bumgarner is 8-5 in his starts at home and 8-4 on the road. The Giants have won his last four starts and seven of his last eight. He's 2-0 with a 1.52 ERA in four career starts against the Cubs.

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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. Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.