San Francisco right-hander Jake Peavy may have changed uniforms but not his luck at Kauffman Stadium.
Peavy, who joined the Giants in late July after spending five seasons with the Chicago White Sox and parts of the past two years with the Boston Red Sox, kept San Francisco in the game for five innings of Wednesday night’s game two of the World Series.
But it all fell apart for the former Cy Young winner in the sixth as the Royals evened the World Series at a game apiece with a 7-2 victory.
In Peavy’s seven previous starts at Kauffman Stadium, he was 1-5 with a 6.42 ERA, and in his last nine outings overall against the Royals, he was 1-6 with a 5.60 ERA.
“It seems like the ball tends to bounce the other way at times in here,” Peavy said. “I hope I get another crack at it.”
Peavy started shaky Wednesday, allowing four of the Royals’ first five batters to reach base. He was fortunate to allow just one run because the Royals’ Alcides Escobar, who led off the first with a single, was thrown out stealing.
But Lorenzo Cain doubled with one out and Eric Hosmer walked, bringing up Royals designated hitter Billy Butler. Butler, who has owned Peavy through the years, going 14-for-33 (.424) with three home runs and eight RBIs, ripped a single, driving in Cain and tying the score at 1-1 before Alex Gordon flied out.
“That ball by Butler was about an inch away from (shortstop) Brandon Crawford’s glove,” Peavy said. “It takes some breaks sometime.”
It was more of the same in the second. Peavy surrendered a one-out double to Omar Infante and a two-out, RBI double down the right field line by Escobar, giving the Royals a 2-1 lead.
And then Peavy, who entered the game with a 1-3 record and 7.03 ERA in seven career postseason starts, found his rhythm.
After allowing six of the first Royals he faced to reach base, Peavy temporarily shut the door. With the score tied 2-2, Peavy retired 10 straight batters until Cain opened the sixth with a single to center.
Peavy fell behind Hosmer 3-0 before walking him on a full count, and manager Bruce Bochy, not wanting Peavy to face Butler again, brought in burly right-hander Jean Machi.
“Once he lost Hosmer,” Bochy said, “I wanted to give Butler a little different look.”
Butler promptly drilled another RBI single, breaking the tie and sparking a five-run inning that broke open the game and handed the loss to Peavy, who has never made it out of the sixth inning in eight postseason starts.
“I made a good pitch to Cain, but there was nothing I could do there, and I made some good pitches to Hosmer to get back in the count, but he laid off a breaking ball down … and that’s about it,” Peavy said.
The Giants acquired Peavy, 33, from Boston in July, giving the club a much-needed starter in place of Matt Cain, who was lost for the season because of elbow surgery.
A year ago, Peavy pitched in three postseason games for the Red Sox, including a four-inning start in game three of the World Series against the Cardinals. Peavy took the loss in that game, but the Red Sox would win the World Series.
He started an unsightly 1-9 with a 4.72 ERA for Boston this year before finding new life with the Giants. Peavy went 6-4 with a 2.17 ERA in 12 starts, and he split two decisions in the postseason, beating Washington 3-2 in the National League Division Series and getting no decision in a 5-4 loss to St. Louis in the National League Championship Series.
But Peavy, a three-time All-Star, has had few answers against the Royals, especially in Kauffman Stadium.
“They’re certainly on a great run,” Peavy said of the Royals on Tuesday. “They’re playing good baseball and playing with a lot of confidence. We all know when a team’s playing with confidence, they’re a dangerous team. They’re the same guys, just a little more refined and obviously a lot more confident than they were at any point in time that I faced them in Chicago. And they were always formidable.”