Along the way, he's putting together an impressive resume for the NL Cy Young Award.
The right-hander lowered his major league-leading ERA to 2.39, struck out 10 to take over the big league lead with 225 and pitched the Padres to a 5-1 win Sunday over the last-place San Francisco Giants.
Peavy's 18 wins are the most in the NL and a personal best. He allowed four hits in 7 1/3 innings and won for the ninth time in 10 decisions. His only loss in that span was at Arizona on Sept. 5 when he was pitching on three days' rest.
Peavy (18-6) struck out at least 10 for the ninth time this season -- again, a big league high -- and the 24th time in his career. His 225 strikeouts are a personal best, topping the 216 he had in 2005, when he led the NL.
To Peavy, those are just numbers. He said he doesn't know the statistics of other Cy Young contenders or how he'd compare with them.
"I'm just going to try to finish strong. I believe I have two starts left and we'll let you guys decide that," Peavy said.
He is in position to become the first Padres pitcher to win 20 games since Gaylord Perry had 21 victories in 1978, when he won the NL Cy Young Award. Two years before that, Randy Jones won 22 games and the franchise's first Cy Young. Relief man Mark Davis was the last Padres pitcher to win the award, in 1989.
"Peavy's dirty," rookie Kevin Kouzmanoff said, referring to his teammate's hard-to-hit assortment of fastballs, sliders and changeups. "He's a great pitcher. Why not?"
Peavy's 18 wins are the most by a Padres pitcher since Kevin Brown had 18 in 1998, the last time the Padres made it to the World Series.
The 26-year-old Peavy is intrigued by the chance to win 20.
"I want to give it my best effort," he said. "We need to win them all, so my next two will be very important. If I personally end up winning, it'll be great, but my team needs to win them both."
Batting in the No. 3 hole for the first time, Kouzmanoff had three hits and an RBI for the Padres, who maintained their 1½-game lead in the NL wild-card race. They remained two games behind first-place Arizona in the NL West. The Diamondbacks beat Los Angeles 6-1.
San Diego swept the Giants, winning its eighth straight against San Francisco.
"We came in today not talking about a sweep; talking about winning today," Peavy said. "Forget about it, got to win tomorrow. Doesn't matter what Philly does, doesn't matter what L.A., Arizona do, we have to win. If we do that, if we take care of our business, we get in the playoffs. Good win by the boys. Let's forget about it and win tomorrow."
Peavy took a three-hit shutout into the eighth, when he issued his only walk, to pinch-hitter Eugenio Velez, with one out. Velez stole second and scored on pinch-hitter Ray Durham's single to left. Padres manager Bud Black came out to get Peavy, who got a standing ovation from the crowd of 34,000. Peavy responded by tipping his cap.
"You watch him and he's in total control out there," said Giants leadoff batter Dave Roberts, who played for the Padres from 2005-06. "He has a great idea of what he wants to do with each hitter.
"I think he continues to be a more complete pitcher," he added. "He's tough out on the mound. He makes it tough for the hitters. When he is on, like he was today, you have to hope he makes a mistake."
San Francisco's Tim Lincecum (7-5) remained winless in five starts. Pitching through a cramp in his right calf, he allowed four runs, three earned, and six hits in 6 1/3 innings with five strikeouts and five walks.
Brady Clark hit an RBI triple in the sixth.
San Diego scored an unearned run in the second on two walks, a two-base throwing error by catcher Guillermo Rodriguez and Bard's RBI fielder's choice.
- The Padres are 12-3 against the Giants this season, with three more games to be played Sept. 24-26 at San Francisco.
- Padres fans might have booed Barry Bonds for the final time. Bonds didn't play in Sunday's series finale because of a toe injury sustained the night before. If Bonds plays next year, it could be as a designated hitter for an AL team rather than with the Giants. Bonds is expected to be out five to seven days with an injured right big toe, manager Bruce Bochy said.
- Padres CF Mike Cameron sat out after tweaking his left knee in Saturday night's 6-0 win, when he hit a two-run homer.
- Black said LF Milton Bradley isn't expected to play in the next few days. He's been out since straining his right oblique on Sept. 7 at Colorado. "I think he's gaining on it," Black said.