By Jeremy Kahn
SAN FRANCISCO-Yusmeiro Petit came within just one strike of baseball immortality against his former team, the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The right-hander, who is making his third start in the last two weeks, came within one strike of becoming the 24th pitcher to throw a perfect game, as the San Francisco Giants defeated the Diamondbacks 3-0 before a sellout crowd of 41,180 at AT&T Park.
Petit retired the first 26 batters he faced, but former Oakland A’s third baseman Eric Chavez broke up the perfecto with two outs in the top of the ninth inning, as his single was out of the reach of a diving Hunter Pence in right field.
In all, Petit threw a complete game one-hit shutout, the first of his career, as he struck out seven, just five days after striking out a career-high 10 in the Giants 8-2 victory over these same Diamondbacks on Sunday afternoon at Chase Field in Phoenix.
Petit was only the second Giants pitcher this season to throw a complete game, joining Tim Lincecum, who threw a no-hitter on July 13 against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park.
The eight and two-thirds of no-hit ball pitched by Petit was the longest in his career, breaking his previous long of seven innings, while pitching for the Diamondbacks at PNC Park against the Pittsburgh Pirates on August 4, 2009.
Petit is the 12th pitcher in major league history to lose a perfect game with two outs in the ninth inning, and the second this season, as Yu Darvish of the Texas Rangers lost a perfect game in his first start of the season against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on April 2, 2013.
In that game, Ronny Cedeno broke up Petit’s no-hit bid with no outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, as the Diamondbacks defeated the Pirates 6-0.
Pence scored the first run of the game for the Giants in the bottom of the second inning, as Petit’s battery mate Hector Sanchez drove him in with a single.
It was also Pence who scored the Giants second run of the game in the bottom of the fourth inning, as he scored on the second Sanchez single of the night.
On the night, Pence went 3-for-3 with three runs, a single, a double and a home run.
Over his last 15 games, Pence is hitting .392, going 20-for-51 with nine RBIs, and 13 runs scored.
This was also the 48th multi-hit game of the season for Pence, tied for the third-most in the National League.
Following the Pence double, Pablo Sandoval nearly reached for the second consecutive at-bat; however Adam Eaton made a terrific catch in left field.
Joaquin Arias was then retired following the Sandoval fly out, as Paul Goldschmidt made a great play at first base.
Petit’s opponent on the mound, Patrick Corbin nearly picked up the first Diamondbacks hit in the top of the sixth inning, but Juan Perez made a tremendous diving catch to preserve the game for Petit.
Corbin went eight innings, allowing three runs on eight hits, walking just one and striking out five, but lost for the second time in the last five days to the Giants.
Sandoval extended his hitting streak to eight-straight games, as he singled off of Corbin in the bottom of the second inning.
During the streak, Sandoval is hitting .406 (13-for-32) with eight RBIs, also over his last 23 games, the 2012 World Series MVP is hitting .386 (33-for-86) with 20 RBIs.
Pence made it 3-0 in the bottom of the eighth inning, as he took a Corbin pitch and supplanted it into the left field bleachers for his 19th home run of the season.
It was the 19th home run of the season for Pence, as he is just one home run shy of becoming the first Giants player to go 20-20 since Barry Bonds turned the trick in 1998.
Pence and Sandoval are not the only Giants swinging a hot bat, as Angel Pagan extended his hitting streak up to 11 games, as he singled in the bottom of the fifth inning.