With historic 104th win, SF nears West title

Giants' magic number at 3 after Wood fuels shutout victory over D-backs

September 30th, 2021

SAN FRANCISCO -- The 2021 Giants are officially the winningest team in San Francisco history.

With a 1-0 win over the D-backs on Wednesday night at Oracle Park, the Giants earned their 104th victory of the season, breaking a tie with the 1962 and ‘93 clubs for the most wins in a single season since the franchise moved west in ‘58.

“I think our players can and should be proud,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said. “All of us collectively can and should be proud of setting the San Francisco Giants single-season mark for wins. It’s a huge accomplishment. This team has done so many good things. To say that this club has won more games than any other San Francisco Giants team is quite fulfilling.”

The milestone victory lowered the Giants' magic number to win the National League West to three with four games to go. But they know they still have work to do to dethrone the Dodgers, who launched four home runs in the eighth inning to pull off a wild, 11-9 comeback win over the Padres on Wednesday night.

Games remaining: One vs. D-backs, three vs. Padres
Standings update: Two games ahead of the Dodgers
Magic number for division title: Three

“It’s crazy to have as many wins as we do and still be fighting for a division,” San Francisco left fielder Kris Bryant said. “You have to give credit to the Dodgers. They’ve been doing it all year, too. It’s definitely a really weird year in terms of we still don’t have anything locked up yet.”

San Francisco left-hander Alex Wood delivered a brilliant outing in his third start since returning from the COVID-19 injured list, striking out six over six scoreless innings on 74 pitches in what was likely his final outing before the postseason. Wood allowed only three hits and pitched around two San Francisco errors in his longest start since going 6 2/3 innings in a win over the Rockies on Aug. 15.

Wood did not factor into the decision due to the Giants’ inability to take advantage of early scoring opportunities against D-backs right-hander Merrill Kelly, who tossed five scoreless frames. San Francisco still had no runs through six, but it scratched across the only run it needed by playing small ball in the seventh.

Tommy La Stella, who is dealing with left Achilles discomfort, led off the seventh with a single off right-hander Noé Ramirez. Pinch-runner Steven Duggar then immediately stole second. LaMonte Wade Jr. followed with a sacrifice bunt to set up a Bryant sacrifice fly for the game's lone run.

“Honestly, that’s kind of more of what you see in the postseason,” Bryant said. “Obviously there are big homers and stuff, but usually the teams that win it all do the little things right.”

Dominic Leone, Jarlín García and Camilo Doval combined for three scoreless innings to seal the win for the Giants, who improved to 16-2 against the last-place D-backs and moved to 50 games over .500 for the first time since ending the 1913 season at 101-51-4.

The 24-year-old Doval struck out two over a 1-2-3 ninth to record his second career save -- which came a day after his first -- and extend his scoreless streak to 14 1/3 innings over his past 14 appearances.

Wood missed three weeks due to his bout with COVID-19, but he’s provided a big boost since rejoining the Giants’ rotation. Over his past three starts, he has yielded only two runs over 13 innings while striking out 17 and walking none. Kapler indicated that the 30-year-old is currently looking like the No. 3 or 4 starter in a postseason rotation that is fully built up.

“He’s pitching as good as any of our starters right now,” Kapler said. “It’s super encouraging.”

The Giants will be aiming to lock up the NL West this week. But if they end the season tied with the Dodgers atop the division, they’ll likely turn to Wood to start Game 163 on Monday at Oracle Park. The Giants are hoping it won’t come to that, but if it does, Wood is looking ready for the assignment and whatever else follows.

“I’m ready to rock,” Wood said. “I can’t wait for October. We’ve got four games left. We’ve got some business left to finish there. If that’s my last start of the regular season, I’m just very blessed to make it through this entire season and have a quality year to contribute to these guys and this organization.

"It really has been a blessing. Hopefully, the fun is just beginning. Hopefully, we can close this thing out this weekend and get ready for the postseason, because it’s the best time of the year, no doubt.”