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Giants' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 22, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants figure that since they have momentum, they might as well ride it as far and as quickly as they can.

"Everything's going our way," third baseman Pablo Sandoval said. For the short term, that means clinching the National League West title as expediently as possible.

San Francisco trimmed its magic number for officially securing the division crown to two. Any combination of Giants victories or Los Angeles Dodgers defeats will end the West race. Thus, if the Dodgers lose Saturday, the Giants can end the West race by defeating San Diego.

San Diego had won 20 of its previous 28 games but couldn't cool down the Giants, who matched a season high by winning their sixth consecutive home game. If the Giants, who are 9-4 against the Padres, somehow can't clinch against them, they'll turn their attention to the Arizona Diamondbacks, who begin a three-game series at AT&T Park on Tuesday. San Francisco is 7-8 against Arizona.

Saturday's key game to watch

Dodgers (Fife, 0-1) at Reds (Latos, 12-4), 1:05 p.m. PT Preview >

If the postseason started today ...

This is how the teams would match up: Postseason Bracket »

Postseason 101

Magic numbers
To calculate a team's magic number, take the number of games it has remaining and add one. Then subtract the difference in the number of losses between that team and its closest pursuer.

Tiebreaker scenarios
A tiebreaker game will be played to determine a division winner, even if the tied clubs are assured of participating in the postseason. If a division championship tiebreaker is necessary, the head-to-head record between the clubs will determine home-field advantage. If the head-to-head record is tied, then the division record will be the next tiebreaker.

If two clubs are tied for the two Wild Card berths, home-field advantage will be determined by the head-to-head record between the clubs. If the head-to-head record is tied, then the division record will be the next tiebreaker.

Tiebreaker rules »

2012 postseason schedule
Wild Card playoff games: Oct. 5
Division Series: Oct. 6-12
AL Championship Series: Oct. 13-21
NL Championship Series: Oct. 14-22
World Series: Oct. 24-Nov. 1

San Francisco Giants