SAN FRANCISCO -- Conor Gillaspie leaped with his hands raised in the air and screamed. Moments later, Madison Bumgarner was doing the same thing, clenching his fists and shouting as the noise inside AT&T Park amplified.A couple of at-bats later, Brandon Belt was trotting around the bases after hitting a
SAN FRANCISCO -- Conor Gillaspie leaped with his hands raised in the air and screamed. Moments later, Madison Bumgarner was doing the same thing, clenching his fists and shouting as the noise inside AT&T Park amplified.
A couple of at-bats later, Brandon Belt was trotting around the bases after hitting a three-run homer as part of a breakout seven-run sixth inning. Manager Bruce Bochy said before the Giants opened their final series of the season Friday that these games felt like the playoffs. And that was evident while San Francisco's crowd reached a deafening volume during the Giants' 9-3 win over the Dodgers -- a victory that kept the club one game ahead of the Cardinals for the second National League Wild Card spot with two games remaining.
"It's a fun time; it's intense," said Bochy. "It's why you play. There's years where you don't have this, and so hopefully the guys savor it and are having fun with this."
It seemed like the shouts from San Francisco's players could compete with the crowd's Friday night. Gillaspie's spirited celebration came following his two-run pinch-hit double that both jump-started the offense and gave the Giants their first lead of the evening.
"At that point it was a 4-3 game so it was pretty exciting," said Gillaspie, who entered Friday with two hits in his last 22 at-bats with runners in scoring position.
Gillaspie's knock also allowed Bumgarner to step to the plate. Bochy planned on pinch-hitting for his left-hander, but once Gillaspie drove in the run, the skipper stuck with his ace. The decision paid off, as Bumgarner smashed a two-run double off Dodgers right-hander Brandon McCarthy. Bumgarner is now tied with Jeff Samardzija for the second-most RBIs by a pitcher in the Majors with nine.
Two at-bats later, Belt punctuated the seven-run outburst with a three-run shot to straightaway center.
"We just kept the line moving in that inning," said Bochy. "You enjoy the big innings, especially in a game like this. You're down a run. To not just take the lead but get a cushion, if you're in that dugout you feel that excitement, the energy. Those are always fun innings, guys coming through getting big hits. It's huge."
Tacking on runs after they've gained an advantage has been a problem the Giants have struggled to solve this season. But the club has overcome that obstacle in back-to-back games now. And the group on the field and inside the dugout has clearly become more animated because of it.
"This why you put in the work in the offseason, to have an opportunity to play in these games," said catcher Buster Posey. "They're definitely fun."
Justin Wise is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area.