Giants clinch share of West, match team mark with 106th win

Sports
San Francisco Giants’ LaMonte Wade Jr. waves as he is announced as the 2021 winner of The Willie Mac Award, named after former player Willie McCovey, before a baseball game between the Giants and the San Diego Padres in San Francisco, Friday, Oct. 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The San Francisco Giants clinched at least a share of their first NL West title since 2012 by matching a franchise record with their 106th win, beating the San Diego Padres 3-0 Friday night before turning their attention to the Dodgers’ game against Milwaukee.

Darin Ruf hit a first-inning home run and Mike Yastrzemski added an RBI single to send San Francisco on its way, and then the Giants waited on Los Angeles’ result against the NL Central champion Brewers. A Dodgers loss would ensure San Francisco the division crown outright over the eight-time defending West winners and reigning World Series champions.

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.

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.

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.

Anthony 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.

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.

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