July 26, 2014 at 8:54 pm

Saturday's baseball roundup: Giants acquire Jake Peavy; A.J. Pierzysnki shines in Cardinals debut

The newest Cardinals catcher, A.J. Pierzynski, singles for one of his three hits in Saturday's victory over the Cubs. (David Banks / Getty Images)

San Francisco — The Giants boosted their rotation for the stretch run by acquiring right-hander Jake Peavy from the Red Sox on Saturday for a pair of minor league pitchers.

The 2007 NL Cy Young Award winner will start Sunday night’s series finale against the Dodgers. The Giants held a half-game division lead in the NL West against their rival going into Saturday night’s middle game at AT&T Park.

The Giants have plenty of familiarity with Peavy, who pitched for manager Bruce Bochy with the San Diego Padres in the playoffs in 2005-06.

“It’s great to be reunited with Jake,” Bochy said by text message. “Look forward to working with him again.”

San Francisco missed the playoffs in 2013 after winning the World Series in 2010 and 2012, and the club is committed to making another special October run.

The 33-year-old Peavy pitched one of his best games last Aug. 25 at Dodger Stadium. He tossed a three-hitter with five strikeouts and one walk in an 8-1 Red Sox victory.

San Francisco received cash from Boston and is sending right-hander Heath Hembree and lefty Edwin Escobar to the World Series champion Red Sox in the swap. Both players were optioned by the Red Sox to Triple-A Pawtucket.

“It provides Jake an opportunity to step right into a more ready pennant race out in the west,” Boston manager John Farrell said. “And we get two pitchers back we like.”

Peavy (1-9, 4.72 ERA) has been hurt by poor run support this season, receiving two runs or fewer of support in each of his past eight starts. He is in the final season of a $29 million, two-year contract.

“Going to miss him,” Boston’s Mike Napoli said. “A great competitor. A great teammate. His record doesn’t really show the kind of pitcher he is.”

Peavy is earning $14.5 million this season, with the Red Sox paying more than $3 million of his remaining salary for the year — $5.15 million.

Six weeks on the disabled list last year with a rib injury cost him a chance to have a conditional $15 million option for 2015 if he had reached 400 innings over 2013-14. He is at 268 2-3 heading into Sunday’s outing.

Yusmeiro Petit had been scheduled to pitch Sunday for the Giants with right-hander Matt Cain on the disabled list.

“The impetus to execute the trade was accelerated by the news we got about Matt Cain yesterday becoming more and more tenuous,” Giants general manager Brian Sabean said. “The longer he stays in this dormant stage, the more we’re going to seek a second opinion.”

The Giants made the deal without having to give up their top pitching prospect, Kyle Crick.

It’s been a busy week for Sabean and assistant GM Bobby Evans.

On Friday, they promoted second baseman Dan Uggla from Triple A only four days after they signed him to a minor league contract Monday. Uggla was released by Atlanta on July 18.

Escobar went 3-8 with a 5.11 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 20 games for Triple-A Fresno, while Hembree went 1-3 with a 3.89 ERA and 18 saves with 46 strikeouts in 41 appearances for Fresno this year.

Cardinals sign Pierzynski

For A.J. Pierzynski, the opportunity for a fresh start with a perennial contender was too good to pass up.

Pierzynski on Saturday signed with the Cardinals, choosing them from among several suitors, 10 days after being released by the Red Sox.

The veteran catcher didn’t divulge what other teams showed interest in him, but said playing for a contender was a priority.

“You want to try and find a team that can win. You don’t want to go to the team that’s in last place and just kind of play out the string,” said Pierzynski, who was in the starting lineup and batting sixth for the Cardinals’ afternoon matchup against the Chicago Cubs.

Pierzynski, 37, now with his sixth team in 17 seasons, spoke with St. Louis manager Mike Matheny Friday before signing and expressed his desire to continue playing and willingness to accept whatever role was best for the team.

“I just wanted to make sure he was a good fit,” Matheny said. “Explain to him the lay of the land here, kind of what are expectations are. Also, get kind of a feel of where he is. There are certain guys kind of on that bubble (questioning) ‘do I still want to keep doing this?’”

The Cardinals have been looking for a steady presence behind the plate since All-Star Yadier Molina went down with a torn ligament in his right thumb on July 9. Molina underwent surgery on July 11 and is expected to miss 8-to-12 weeks.

Pierzysnki had three hits in his Cardinals debut, a 6-3 win over the Cubs.

Around the horn

The Rays recalled right-hander Jeremy Hellickson from Single-A Charlotte and designated reliever Juan Carlos Oviedo for assignment.

Hellickson, coming back from right elbow surgery in January, was brought back to make his second big league start of the season Saturday night against Boston.

... The Giants placed catcher Hector Sanchez on the 7-day disabled list with a mild concussion before their game against the Dodgers.

... The Mets placed relief pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to July 25, with right elbow inflammation.