Yusmeiro Alberto Petit
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 0", Weight 180 lbs.
- High School UE Andres Bello (Maracaibo)
- Debut May 14, 2006
Yusmeiro Petit was signed by scout Gregorio Machado for the New York Mets as an undrafted free agent in November 2001. He began his pro career at age 17 in the 2002 Venezuelan Summer League, going 3-5 with a 2.43 ERA in the pitcher-friendly league for Universidad de Carabobo. In 2003, Petit was 1-0, 2.19 in two starts for the Brooklyn Cyclones (20 K, 2 BB, 5 H in 12 1/3 IP) and 3-3, 2.32 for the Kingsport Mets (65 K, 8 BB, 47 H in 62 IP). He was fifth in the Appalachian League in ERA.
Petit went 9-2, 2.39 for the Capital City Bombers in 2004 (122 K, .159 average allowed in 83 innings), 2-3, 1.22 for the St. Lucie Mets (62 K, .175 average in 54 IP) and 1-1, 4.50 in two outings for the Binghamton Mets. He pitched in relief in the Futures Game and led all of the minor leagues in lowest average allowed by a starter (.170) and strikeouts per 9 innings (12.92). His 200 strikeouts were two behind Brandon McCarthy for the lead and his 2.20 ERA was sixth-best. He was named the 8th-best prospect among right-handed starters by Baseball America, the #5 prospect in the South Atlantic League and #13 in the Florida State League.
In 2005, Yusmeiro was 9-3, 2.91 for Binghamton with a .209 opponent average, 130 Ks and 18 walks in 117 2/3 IP. In three starts for the Norfolk Tides, he was 0-3, 9.20. He pitched a scoreless inning in the Futures Game, was named the #11 prospect in the Eastern League and was second in the EL in ERA, trailing Jon Lester. That winter, he was dealt with Mike Jacobs to the Florida Marlins for Carlos Delgado and $7 million.
Years after he was last considered a top prospect, Petit was called up late in the 2013 season by the San Francisco Giants to take the place of the injured Matt Cain in their starting rotation. On September 6th, he flirted with perfection in a gaime against the Arizona Diamondbacks at AT&T Park. He retired the first 26 batters of the game in order and had two strikes on pinch-hitter Eric Chavez when Chavez hit a single to break up the bid. Yusmeiro then retired the next batter, A.J. Pollock to end the game, having to make do with a 3-0 one-hit shutout instead of a place in the history books. He went 3-1, 4.56 in 8 games, including 7 starts, to put himself in the Giants' future plans. In 48 innings, he allowed 46 hits, struck out 47 and walked 11.
Yusmeiro was in the Giants' bullpen at the start of the 2014 season then got a chance to start again because of another injury to Cain. On April 29th, Cain was scheduled to start a game against the San Diego Padres at AT&T Park when he cut himself with a knife in the clubhouse kitchen after batting practice. With almost no advance notice, Petit was asked to take his place and turned out another masterful performance, allowing only 3 hits and no walks in 6 innings as the Giants won, 6-0. When he was asked to make a spot start in place of a struggling Tim Lincecum on August 28th, he came into the game having retired 38 consecutive batters over seven outings, 7 shy of the all-time record set by Mark Buehrle in 2009, and the sixth longest ever. In his start against the Colorado Rockies, he retired the first 8 batters he faced, striking out Jackson Williams to start the 3rd and tie the record, and then striking out Charlie Culberson to set a new mark; opposing pitcher Jordan Lyles then doubled to left to end the record streak, and came in to score on a single by Charlie Blackmon. That was the only run Petit allowed in 6 innings, however, and he was credited with the 4-1 win. The streak had started on July 22nd when he retired Grady Sizemore of the Philadelphia Phillies, the last batter he faced in a five-inning starting stint; it continued through five relief appearances, including a stint of 4 1/3 innings against the Washington Nationals on August 23rd. His win on the record-setting day was his only decision in the 8 games over which the streak lasted. On the way to setting the major league mark, he also broke the National League record of 41, which had been set by another Giants pitcher, Jim Barr, in 1972. He was outstanding in the postseason: in Game 2 of the Division Series, he pitched 6 scoreless innings to get credit for a 2-1 win over the Washington Nationals in an 18-inning marathon. He then got credit for wins with more clutch performances in the NLCS and in Game 4 of the 2014 World Series against the Kansas City Royals. In that game on October 25th, he even hit a single in his only at-bat, becoming the first reliever to get a hit in a World Series game since Al Leiter in the 1993 World Series.
Sources include 2003-2006 Baseball Almanacs