Giants clinch at least tie in NL West, match team wins mark
Oct 1, 2021, 10:04 AM | Updated: 11:05 pm
(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The San Francisco Giants couldn’t celebrate a division title yet — not with the rival Dodgers still going win for win in the NL West race.
San Francisco clinched at least a tie pursuing its first West title since 2012 by matching the franchise record with its 106th win, beating the San Diego Padres 3-0 Friday night before turning attention to Los Angeles’ home game against Milwaukee.
“They’re probably more frustrated with us because we’re ahead and we keep winning,” Giants winning pitcher Anthony DeSclafani said.
Darin Ruf hit a first-inning home run and Mike Yastrzemski added an RBI single to send San Francisco on its way to a seventh straight win, and then the Giants waited on the Dodgers’ victorious 8-6 result against the NL Central champion Brewers. A Dodgers loss would have ensured San Francisco the division crown outright over the eight-time defending West winners and reigning World Series champions. If the teams finish with the same record, they’ll play a tiebreaker game.
“Honestly, it was all about not trying to fend them off,” Yastrzemski said.
Now, San Francisco can settle this on its own.
“We’re just expecting to play a meaningful game tomorrow,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said. “It’s pretty simple, straightforward for us. That was our expectation all along and we’ll be prepared for that.”
San Francisco went through a quick congratulatory handshake line on the diamond. Then, the big screen scoreboard started airing the Brewers-Dodgers game and fans were invited to stay put. Many did so for a short time — while some who stayed cheered the Brewers and chanted, “Beat LA! Beat LA!”
LaMonte Wade Jr. added a sacrifice fly as these surprising Giants (106-54) continue to leave their mark in the franchise’s storied history — for a special regular season, anyway. One that San Francisco hardly got picked to win in the talented West with the Dodgers and Padres considered the favorites.
After going 29-31 during the coronavirus-shortened 2020 season in Gabe Kapler’s first year as manager to becoming contenders again at last, the group delivered a stunning turnaround. The Giants navigated through injuries to many key players for long stretches. Brandon Belt, sidelined now by a fractured left thumb, hit 29 home runs and shined alongside fellow World Series veterans Brandon Crawford and Buster Posey.
Now, they believe they’re poised for another deep October run like those champion Giants teams of 2010, ’12 and ’14.
“We’re a pretty workmanlike group, we’ve demonstrated that consistently,” Kapler said. “We don’t get too high or too low, focus on the step right in front of us.”
Posey played in his fourth straight game behind the plate, to which Kapler said, “Buster wants to be in there every day at this point.”
The bullpen delivered again, and newcomers like Wade consistently came through.
“It’s pretty simple just doing what we’ve done all year, getting quality at-bats from everyone in the lineup, getting really quality outings out of our starters and our bullpen’s been amazing and playing good defense outside of that first inning yesterday,” Ruf said. “It’s just the recipe we’ve used all year.”
DeSclafani (13-7) struck out three and didn’t walk a batter, allowing four hits over five scoreless innings. The right-hander won for just the second time in eight starts since Aug. 13. Camilo Doval, the fourth Giants reliever, finished for his third save.
“We’ve been winning all year,” DeSclafani said. “We can win and control the outcome ourselves.”
Fernando Tatis Jr. was thrown out at home to end the sixth and San Diego couldn’t capitalize on nine hits for Pedro Avila (0-1) in his second major league appearance and first since 2019.
“First inning obviously his pitch count got up to 35, extended inning a little bit,” manager Jayce Tingler said. “But after that I thought he settled in and really made some big pitches with guys in scoring position.”
WILLIE MAC AWARD
Wade received the “Willie Mac” Award named for late Hall of Famer Willie McCovey. The honor is voted on by the players, coaches and training staff to recognize the team’s most inspirational player on the field and in the clubhouse.
Traded from the Twins in early February, Wade has produced a career season while also spreading goodwill in the community. His proud mother, Emily, threw out a ceremonial first pitch to her son.
“I feel truly blessed and honored to receive this award,” Wade said. “… And of course I’d like to thank Willie, who I know is watching from above.”
Kris Bryant, 3 for 25 over his last seven games with six strikeouts, sat for this one.
Padres: 3B Manny Machado had a rest day. “We’re going to have some guys have a day or two down,” Tingler said. “Just getting Manny off his feet today.”
Giants: LHP Scott Kazmir went on the 10-day injured list with a Grade 1 right hamstring strain that he injured running to cover first in the initial inning of his start Thursday night that forced him to exit. … Closer Jake McGee could return this weekend from a right oblique strain. “It’s all prioritizing his health,” Kapler said. … RHP Johnny Cueto rested after tossing 2 1/3 innings in his first career relief outing Thursday.
The Giants recalled LHP Sammy Long from Triple-A Sacramento.
RHP Joe Musgrove (11-9, 3.22 ERA) goes into his Saturday start following two straight no-decisions but having won his last decision Sept. 15 at San Francisco. The Giants counter with RHP Kevin Gausman (14-6, 2.87) looking to snap a three-start winless stretch in which he’s 0-1.
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