8/28/2014 9:38 P.M. ET
Panik could solidify No. 2 spot in Giants' lineup
By Chris Haft / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy indicated that Joe Panik's appearance in the batting order's No. 2 spot for Thursday's series finale against Colorado could be part of an ongoing audition, not just a product of mixing and matching.
This marked Panik's 10th start in which he batted second, so it was nothing new. He occupied that spot because Hunter Pence, San Francisco's regular No. 2 hitter, dropped to the fifth spot with Michael Morse receiving a rest. Bochy explained that he didn't want a batting order that was thick with rookies in its bottom half; catcher Andrew Susac and shortstop Matt Duffy hit seventh and eighth, respectively. Hence, the experienced Pence hit fifth for the 11th time this year and first since April 18.
As Pence's presence in the second spot for most of the season suggests, Bochy is not stuck on the notion of filling that role in traditional fashion. However, he hinted that he'd prefer somebody at No. 2 who can spray the ball to all fields, hit behind runners and execute the hit-and-run. Not only does Panik fit that profile, but Bochy also added that Panik "eventually" could settle into the No. 2 hitter's role.
"I like a two-hole hitter who can do some things," Bochy said, though he emphasized that the type of No. 2 hitter he employs in the future will depend on how that hitter can complement the rest of the lineup.
Petit retires 46th straight to set MLB record
SAN FRANCISCO -- Andrew Susac's innocent mistake reflected the absence of fuss surrounding Yusmeiro Petit's pursuit of history.
After Colorado's Brandon Barnes took a called third strike to end the second inning of Thursday's Giants-Rockies series finale, Susac, San Francisco's catcher, generously tossed the ball to a fan seated in the front row.
Except Susac wasn't supposed to do that. Authenticators were on hand to gather baseballs thrown by Petit as he approached Mark Buehrle's 2009 Major League record of 45 consecutive batters retired.
"I didn't have any clue what was going on," Susac said.
By contrast, Petit maintained a keen sense of everything that involved him. He dominated the Rockies long enough to set down their first eight hitters, enabling him to retire his 46th batter in a row and eclipse the standard Buehrle set as a member of the Chicago White Sox.
"I'm very happy to be able to establish this new record," said Petit, who yielded one run and four hits in six innings to earn the decision in San Francisco's 4-1 triumph. "At the beginning, I didn't know about it, but in Washington I learned I had a streak going, and I tried to focus and do everything possible."
Petit, 29, began amassing his record total at the end of a July 22 start at Philadelphia. Then came six consecutive appearances out of the bullpen, mostly in his role as San Francisco's long reliever. Petit replaced struggling right-hander Tim Lincecum for the start against the Rockies.
Petit pitched 4 1/3 perfect innings in that Washington outing he mentioned, lengthening his streak of bamboozled batters to 38. He amassed five strikeouts in his final surge past Buehrle, including Colorado's Jackson Williams and Charlie Culberson to tie and break the record, respectively, in the third inning. The AT&T Park audience rewarded Petit with a standing ovation after Culberson went down swinging.
Petit's freshly established record held at 46 as opposing pitcher Jordan Lyles doubled to left field.
"I'll definitely be a trivia question down the road somewhere," Lyles said.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy maintained that nothing was trivial about Petit's accomplishment.
"It's really incredible, when you think about it," Bochy said. "This game has been played a long time, and it's quite a record to be proud of. It's amazing to me."
Bochy acknowledged that Petit's steady progress toward Buehrle's standard "kind of went unnoticed for a long time. ... Now he's got it. He should be very proud of that."
Petit was indeed proud, though witnesses said that he profusely thanked teammates during a brief postgame champagne toast for their contributions to his success.
Susac pointed out that Petit deserved to keep some credit for himself.
"Honestly, the only pitch he missed on was the pitch to [Lyles] the next at-bat [after the record was set]," Susac said. "Other than that, he was lights out. He threw his off-speed [pitches] any time he wanted. His cutter was sharp today. But for the most part, he just pounded fastballs and hit the corners."
Petit nearly etched himself into baseball immortality last Sept. 6, when he needed one out to complete a perfect game against Arizona. Eric Chavez spoiled the moment by singling.
Petit drew from the memory of that disappointment to drive himself toward Buehrle's record.
"I said to myself, 'This is not going to happen to me again,'" Petit said. "So I concentrated specifically on getting there. ... I think it's like a reward for all the work I've put into my pitching. I think God gave me a second opportunity."
• The Giants won their 70th game Wednesday, which they didn't accomplish last season until Sept. 17.
• First baseman Brandon Belt's wife, Haylee, gave birth Wednesday night to the couple's first child -- a 10-pound, 20 1/2-inch-long son named Greyson Ellis Belt.
• According to ESPN Stats & Info, Madison Bumgarner became the fourth left-hander in the last 50 years to throw a one- or no-hit shutout while walking none and striking out at least 13 batters. Others achieving this were Los Angeles' Sandy Koufax (Sept. 9, 1965, against the Chicago Cubs), Arizona's Randy Johnson (May 18, 2004, at Atlanta) and Los Angeles' Clayton Kershaw (June 18, 2014, against Colorado).