It was their franchise record-tying 106th win of the season, their 18th shutout of the year, and yet, at the time the 27th out was logged, the Giants had still not clinched the National League West.
The Los Angeles Dodgers were beating the Milwaukee Brewers 6-5 in the 7th when the game wrapped in San Francisco. There were runners on base. Maybe one out. If the Dodgers ended up losing their game, the Giants would win the division.
The scene at Oracle Park, where the rest of Dodgers-Brewers will be shown on the scoreboard: pic.twitter.com/JqrddU5M27— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) October 2, 2021
The media techs at Oracle threw the game in Los Angeles up on the big screen, but the San Francisco players and coaching staff didn’t stick around to watch. They had exchanged their high-fives and walked out of the dugout to the clubhouse—their work was done. This game was won and there was no use fretting over what they could not control.
Now I’d put money that the LA game was on in the clubhouse as the team chowed down on their post-game clam chowder bread bowls from Boudin (I’m assuming), but the message Kapler and his team sent when they stoically left the field was clear: The Dodgers can do what they want. They can come back from twenty five runs in the bottom of the 9th and win tonight and do it again on Saturday and do it again-again on Sunday—none of it matters if the Giants keep winning.
The Dodgers are 48-21 (.696) since the All-Star break, their best in a 2nd half since 1953.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 2, 2021
They've gained 0 games on the Giants over that span (49-22 since the break). pic.twitter.com/YWINB3Wl4d
A single San Francisco win, or Dodger loss, in the final two games will clinch the National League West for the Giants.
It’s a nice position to be in. It’s comfortable and familiar...but maybe too familiar?
The 2020 season ended with a home series against the Padres in which the Giants needed to win just one more game to secure a spot in the expanded postseason.
Trent Grisham’s walk-off home run in San Francisco about sums up how that weekend went.
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Friendly reminder: The 2021 San Francisco Giants are a lot better than the 2020 San Francisco Giants. The 2021-post-August-what-happened-to-those-guys-San Diego Padres are playing a lot worse than the 2020 San Diego Padres.
That doesn’t mean the division is in the bag. It just means...well, I don’t really know other than I feel a lot better about things this year than last, especially after the Giants performance on Friday night.
It wasn’t an emphatic offensive showcase, but their victory still felt like a statement. It was a confident mix of power, putting the ball in play, and no shenanigans pitching.
In short: Good baseball.
Anthony DeSclafani continued to throw the ball well, putting together five innings of shutout baseball. His ERA in his past seven starts is 2.83.
The bullpen maintained the shutout, divvying up five hits over the last four innings without issuing a walk. Rookie Camilo Doval bagged another save, striking out both Jake Marisnick and Wil Myers with his diving slider before getting Kim to ground out to short.
The Giants offense got started with a Darin Ruf homer in the first.
Darin Ruf with a 111-mph rocket to give the Giants the lead pic.twitter.com/1waZspUWH0— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) October 2, 2021
Mike Yastrzemski followed with a two-out check-swing single to left to score Brandon Crawford, making it 2-0.
They scratched out another run in the sixth with a lead-off double from Donovan Solano, who advanced to third on a ground-out by Tommy La Stella and scored on a sacrifice fly by LaMonte Wade Jr.
Your 2021 Willie Mac Award winner adds some insurance pic.twitter.com/MJ64wX336q— SFGiants (@SFGiants) October 2, 2021
It was those kind of situational at-bats from La Stella and Wade that the Giants had struggled with all year. Or, struggle isn’t the right word—they just haven’t cared to change their approach at the plate in those types of scenarios.
But in the play-off adjacent atmosphere of Friday night, the Giants again showed they could work in insurance run if they needed to in a close game.
It’ll be good practice for the postseason.
And...the final out of the Dodgers game just landed in Max Muncy’s glove.
Dodgers win, Giants win. What’s new?