Giants fall in 10; magic number remains 1

October 3rd, 2021

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants came within five outs of securing the National League West title on Saturday afternoon, but a potential clinch celebration remained on ice following a stinging 3-2 loss to the Padres in 10 innings at Oracle Park.

Jake Cronenworth delivered a two-out, go-ahead double off left-handed reliever to break a 2-2 tie in the top of the 10th and snap the Giants’ seven-game winning streak, keeping their magic number at one.

The Dodgers beat the Brewers 8-3 on Saturday, meaning the battle for the NL West will stretch into the final game of the regular season, a fitting conclusion for one of the most tightly contested division races in recent memory.

The Giants will send to the mound on Sunday to start opposite Padres right-hander Reiss Knehr.

Games remaining: One
Standings update: One game ahead of the Dodgers
Magic number for division title: One

“Obviously, we wanted to win the game and not have to rely on somebody else,” third baseman said. “It’s kind of the story of the season. I think, overall, the group was disappointed after the game today, feeling like we had some opportunities to win the game. But, ultimately, the Dodgers are a good team, too.

“We have 106 wins and we’re going into Game 162 to try to decide the division.”

fired seven brilliant innings of one-run ball, but he departed because of cramping in his right hand after throwing only 84 pitches.

Gausman, who lowered his ERA to a career-best 2.81 over a team-high 33 starts this year, walked off to a standing ovation from the sellout crowd of 40,760, but the Giants’ taxed bullpen couldn’t protect a 2-1 lead in the eighth inning.

A single by Tommy Pham and a double by Trent Grisham put a pair of runners in scoring position for the Padres, who subsequently tied the game, 2-2, on Manny Machado’s sacrifice fly off .

“We felt good about Littell,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “Obviously, he’s been excellent for us all year. He’s gotten some big swing and misses at the top of the zone. He’s been a great competitor for us and gotten out of so many jams for us. While it would have been nice to have [Tyler] Rogers and [Dominic] Leone available, I thought Littell was a really good option for us.”

Machado also tied the game, 1-1, with an RBI single off Gausman, his former Orioles teammate, in the sixth, but the Giants briefly went ahead on ’s pinch-hit blast off lefty reliever Ross Detwiler in the bottom half of the inning. Slater came off the bench and drove a first-pitch fastball out to left-center field, giving San Francisco a 2-1 lead.

It was the 18th pinch-hit home run of the year for the Giants, breaking a single-season Major League record previously held by the 2016 Cardinals.

The Padres threatened in the top of the ninth after Jurickson Profar and Jake Marisnick singled to put runners on first and second with one out, but rookie struck out Victor Caratini and Eric Hosmer to escape the jam and force extra innings. Doval, 24, has worked 16 1/3 scoreless innings with 24 strikeouts over his past 16 appearances for the Giants.

Another Giants rookie, 22-year-old , took the mound in the 10th and retired Grisham on a groundout before striking out Fernando Tatis Jr. on three pitches. With the automatic runner having advanced to third base, Kapler ordered an intentional walk of Machado and then brought in García to face Cronenworth with runners on the corners and two outs. Cronenworth won the lefty-on-lefty matchup by yanking a double to right field on a 1-2 changeup, putting the Padres ahead, 3-2.

The Giants couldn’t answer in the bottom of the 10th, as former Giant Mark Melancon retired Steven Duggar, Buster Posey and Wilmer Flores.

“Obviously, we would have liked to punch our ticket today and kind of do it ourselves, but that’s baseball,” Gausman said. “I thought we played a hell of a game all around. ... It’s unfortunate we lost today, but we’ll win tomorrow.”