One strike shy from a perfect game last September, Yusmeiro Petit refused to let another chance at baseball history slip away.
Petit set a major-league record when he retired his 46th batter in a row, and the San Francisco Giants beat the Colorado Rockies 4-1 on Thursday for their third consecutive win.
"I think it’s like a reward for all the work I have put into my pitching," Petit said through a translator. "I think God gave me a second opportunity, and I said to myself, ‘He’s giving me another opportunity. This time, I’m not going to allow myself to not do it.’"
Petit (4-3) retired the first eight hitters, establishing the mark by striking out Charlie Culberson. That broke Mark Buehrle’s record of 45 in a row with the Chicago White Sox in 2009.
The announced sellout crowd of 41,017 at AT&T Park gave Petit a standing ovation after he fanned Culberson. The string ended two pitches later when the next batter, Rockies starting pitcher Jordan Lyles, doubled to left field. Charlie Blackmon followed with a single to drive in Colorado’s only run.
"I was a little nervous when the hitters were advancing toward the record. But in that pitch to the pitcher, I was not nervous," Petit said. "I was doing my job. The first pitch was fine. The second pitch was fine, too, but it slid a little bit where I didn’t want it to."
Petit’s streak covered eight games, six of them in relief. He also surpassed Jim Barr’s NL record of 41 in a row with the Giants in 1972, carving out his own slice of baseball lore after Eric Chavez wrecked Petit’s perfect game against Arizona with a two-out single in the ninth last year.
The 29-year-old journeyman from Venezuela made the start in place of struggling Tim Lincecum, who was available out of the bullpen. Petit allowed four hits, struck out nine and walked none, pitching out of the stretch the entire game.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he will weigh his options but admitted it will be hard to take Petit out of the rotation.
"What a roll to get on to have that kind of record," Bochy said. "As long as this game’s been going on, now he’s got it."
Gregor Blanco hit a two-run homer, Angel Pagan had three singles and two others drove in a run to supply all the support Petit needed.
Jean Machi and Sergio Romo each tossed a scoreless inning of relief, and Santiago Casilla pitched a scoreless ninth for his 12th save in 16 chances.
Lyles (6-2) allowed three runs and four hits in six innings. But his biggest contribution might have come with his bat, hitting a four-seam fastball clocked at 89 mph.
"That might be a trivia answer some day," he said.
Rockies: LHP Jorge De La Rosa remains on track to make his next start Sunday at Arizona after bruising his left thumb while batting Tuesday.
Giants: SS Brandon Crawford was out of the starting lineup for the second day in a row with what Bochy called "general soreness." He struck out as a pinch-hitter in the seventh. … 1B Michael Morse was given the day off.
Giants 1B Brandon Belt’s wife, Haylee, gave birth to the couple’s first child Wednesday night. A team spokesman said the boy, Greyson Ellis Belt, was 10 pounds and 20 1-2 inches.
Rockies catcher Jackson Williams singled to center in the fifth for his first career hit. Williams was drafted in the first round by the Giants in 2007 before signing a minor-league deal with Colorado this year. "I’ve been talking with the guys here about being called up in San Francisco after spending six years with those guys. It’s something cool to remember," Williams said.
Rockies: RHP Christian Bergman (1-2, 6.75 ERA) starts the opener of a three-game series at Arizona. He earned his first career victory in his last start against Miami, allowing four runs in 6 1/3 innings.
Giants: RHP Ryan Vogelsong (7-9, 3.78 ERA) goes for his first victory at home since May 24 when he takes the mound in the opener of a three-game series against Milwaukee.