SF Giants on edge of NL West title as magic number drops to 1

SAN FRANCISCO — When the Giants took their franchise-record-binding 106th win of the season on Friday night at Oracle Park, there were no dog piles amid the diamond or champagne celebrations at the clubhouse.

A 3-0 shutout win by the Padres brought the Giants (106-54) closer to their first National League Western crown since 2012, but it didn’t break the division for Gabe Kapler’s club.

With the Dodgers playing for the Brewers 6-5 and still playing as rookie Camilo Doval recorded his third save in four days, the Giants’ magic number to win the NL West was one.

A Dodgers team that has won eight straight division titles and 103 games this season is still alive in the NL West race, but a late misstep against Milwaukee could still cause a postponed party at 24 Willie Mays Plaza on Friday.

“We just expect to play a meaningful game tomorrow,” Kapler explained. “It’s pretty simple, clear to us and that’s been our expectation all along.”

The Giants equaled the 1904 New York Giants for the most wins in franchise history: starter Anthony DeSclafani threw five scoreless innings, Darin Ruf hit a home run in the first inning, and the Giants lineup produced enough attacks to help the club finish a seventh consecutive win.

A crowd of 33,975 people managed to cheer on the Giants while keeping a close eye on the Dodgers-Brewers game, which takes place Friday in Los Angeles. With right-handed Dominic Leone on the mound in the seventh inning and the Giants leading 3-0, there was a bit of booing along the shores of McCovey Cove as the scoreboard was updated to bring back the tying grand slam Dodgers shortstop Trea Turner. in the fifth inning against Brewers starter Eric Lauer.

“It’s cool and fun, but it’s a soft focus on what’s happening in Los Angeles with the Brewers and the Dodgers and a sharp focus on what we need to do,” Kapler said.

By winning at Oracle Park on Friday, the Giants guaranteed they will end their 162 game schedule at least tied for the NL West division lead. A scenario where San Francisco loses its last two games to the Padres, while the Dodgers win their last three to the Brewers, would force the teams to play a Game 163 at Oracle Park on Monday to determine the division champion.

The Giants struck almost immediately against Padres starter Pedro Avila when the second batter in their lineup, Ruf, hit a 110.6 mph laser into the left field blender for a solo home run. Ruf only started for the 21st time this season against a right-handed pitcher, but Kapler said before the game that he and first baseman Wilmer Flores earned the right to play over Kris Bryant on Friday because of the consistency they have shown at the plate in recent times. . to dawn.

After Brandon Crawford reached on a throwing error and Wilmer Flores walked, the Giants extended their lead when Mike Yastrzemski tried to control his swing on a 2-2 change-up by Avila. Yastrzemski failed to hold his bat back from the strike zone when the eighth pitch of his at bat collided with his barrel and resulted in a bloop single into shallow left field that brought Crawford home from second base.

DeSclafani was able to hold onto the two-run lead over five scoreless innings when he finished the regular season with a 3.17 ERA over 31 starts, making 2021 the best season of his seven-year Major League career.

The righthander took advantage of a well-positioned defense when third baseman Evan Longoria started an inning-ending 5-6-3 double play in the third inning before Flores drove a grounder to the right of the infield and defeated pinch-hitter Tommy Pham to first base to strand a runner in scoring position in the fourth.

The fourth inning was the Padres’ best chance to score against DeSclafani when catcher Victor Caratini launched a 419-foot flyball into deep right-midfield that would have removed the outfield fence in 29 other Major League parks, but the ball hit high off the rocks in Oracle Park and fell on the warning lane when Caratini retired in second place with a double.

That’s when the Padres pulled Avila for Pham and the Giants took advantage of Flores being stationed far from the first baseline.

Leave a Comment