SAN FRANCISCO -- With Jake Peavy facing trouble, Giants manager Bruce Bochy headed purposefully for the pitcher's mound in Monday night's fifth inning.
But Bochy didn't remove Peavy from the game. Instead, Bochy stuck with the struggling right-hander, which didn't make much difference in the Giants' 3-1 Interleague loss to the Toronto Blue Jays but may have fueled Peavy's confidence for his next outing.
"It meant the world to me," Peavy said of Bochy's support.
Peavy finished that inning, which happened to be his last. After Bochy concluded his visit to the mound, Troy Tulowitzki grounded an infield single to load the bases with two outs. Peavy escaped the jam by coaxing Russell Martin's popup.
That was it for Peavy, who allowed all of Toronto's runs along with five hits. Though his statistical line might have looked ordinary, it represented a welcome change for Peavy, who yielded 13 runs spanning eight innings in his previous two starts.
"There's stuff I'm going to take away from this, in knowing I made good pitches to good hitters, and be stronger the next time out," said Peavy, whose overall ERA is a still-inflated 8.47.
"He was determined to keep us in the game and he did a nice job of that," Bochy said. "It's a good sign for Jake to battle and compete and hold them to three."
In fact, Toronto's lineup looked stacked even without a designated hitter.
"It's different facing a team built like that," Peavy said. "That team, you're talking about Russell Martin hitting in your seven-hole, a guy with 10 years [in the Majors]; Tulowitzki, a $100 million player, hitting in front of him in the six-hole; and an MVP [Josh Donaldson] hitting second -- they're a really good lineup that's looking to do damage."
Peavy (1-4) pitched just one perfect inning. But he left the bases loaded while surrendering a first-inning run by striking out Tulowitzki and prompting Martin's groundout. That combined with the ominous yet ultimately harmless fifth inning to bracket Peavy's performance. In between, however, Edwin Encarnacion smacked a two-run homer in the third inning to make the difference.
It just so happened that Peavy struck out Encarnacion with an 89 mph fastball when they met again in the fifth inning.
"The pitch I wanted to make [in the third inning] was the one he struck out on his next at-bat," Peavy said.
Of the five batters Peavy walked, two scored. His explanation: "I just wasn't going to give in at any point in time." In other words, he intended to throw the pitches he wanted, not those that a hitter might assume he'd see according to conventional wisdom.
Peavy absorbed his first loss at AT&T Park since last July 8, an 11-start span in which he went 7-0 with a 3.41 ERA.
Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. 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.