Giants starter Jake Peavy faced six batters before leaving the game during the Mets' romp in the third inning, when they scored 12 runs. Three of those hitters walked. Of course, all of them came around to score.
The Giants likely would have lost even if Peavy had refrained from issuing any free passes. But the Mets, who lengthened their winning streak to a Major League-high seven games, needed no help to sustain their momentum. Peavy gave them an extra boost by walking Curtis Granderson and David Wright to open the big third. The avalanche didn't stop until the Mets set a franchise mark for runs in one inning and Yoenis Cespedes amassed a single-inning club-record six RBIs on a two-run single and a grand slam.
Including reliever Mike Broadway's walk to the second batter he faced, eighth-place hitter Kevin Plawecki, the Giants walked four Mets in the third inning. All of them scored.
It's easy to regard such games as aberrations. Unfortunately for Peavy and the Giants, his 8.61 ERA through five starts demonstrates his ineffectiveness. His two-inning stint represented his shortest start since July 6, 2010, when he worked 1 2/3 innings for the White Sox against the Angels. His five-walk total reflected his lack of command.
Nobody, however, is panicking openly about San Francisco's No. 4 starter.
"I think it's fair to say that he has not gotten on track," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He was a slow starter last year. I still believe he's going to come back and be the starter he was last year."
That's when Peavy finished 8-4 with a 3.15 ERA in his final 17 outings. Predictably, the 14-year veteran remained calm.
"I'm not [concerned]," he said. "Obviously I know I have to do better."
He observed that he threw several pitches that "weren't far off" from their intended target, then added, "For two innings tonght, I felt like I want to feel, just about."
Then came the third inning. Peavy had a 2-2 count on Cespedes before the Mets' richly talented center fielder singled. Lucas Duda fouled off four 3-2 pitches before drawing a walk, completing a 10-pitch standoff. Peavy had a 1-2 count on Neil Walker, who proceeded to lace an RBI double. That was it for Peavy.
An injury to a key player was the only occurrence that could have worsened the evening for the Giants. And so they'll hold their collective breath overnight until second baseman Joe Panik's right groin is re-examined Saturday. Panik said he felt tightness in his leg when he broke from the batter's box in the ninth inning as he grounded into a force play. He emphasized that he considered it a mild mishap.
"I didn't feel anything pop," he said.