Giants on verge after 7th straight win

Their next win or LA's next loss brings NL West title to the Bay

October 2nd, 2021

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants are on the cusp of clinching the National League West title, but they haven’t outrun the Dodgers quite yet.

With a 3-0 win over the Padres at Oracle Park on Friday night, the Giants took care of business on their end and lowered their magic number to one, giving them an opportunity to secure their first division title since 2012 with a win on Saturday.

“There’s no better way than to win it ourselves and celebrate,” right-hander said.

The Dodgers aren’t going away, though, as they erased a four-run deficit Friday and pulled out an 8-6 win over the Brewers at Dodger Stadium to stay alive in one of the most compelling division races in recent memory.

• Games remaining: Two vs. the Padres
• Standings update: Two games ahead of the Dodgers
• Magic number for division title: One

“We’ve kind of joked about it, mainly the older guys,” outfielder said. “How we have so many wins, but every day you come to the park and we still have to win that game -- there’s no letup.”

With two games left to play, the Giants can do no worse than finish tied for first place with the Dodgers and force a Game 163, which would be held on Monday at Oracle Park.

Friday represented yet another incredible benchmark for the Giants, who earned their 106th win of the year to match the 1904 New York Giants for the most wins in a single season in franchise history. That 1904 squad -- led by a trio of Hall of Famers in Christy Mathewson, Joe McGinnity and Roger Bresnahan -- went 106-47-5.

DeSclafani worked five shutout innings in his final tune-up before the postseason, and Ruf homered to help the Giants extend their winning streak to seven games.

The Giants got all the runs they would need in the first inning against Padres right-hander Pedro Avila, who was called up from Triple-A El Paso to make his first Major League start since April 2019.

Ruf promptly welcomed Avila back to the big leagues by blasting a 3-2 fastball over the left-field wall for his career-high 16th home run of the year, staking San Francisco a 1-0 lead. In his first two games since returning from a right oblique strain, Ruf is 3-for-8 with a double and a homer.

“I didn’t have to miss too much time, but luckily I’ve been swinging at good pitches for the most part and making solid contact,” Ruf said. “That’s all you can ask for when you haven’t had at-bats in a while.”

The Giants caught a break later in the first inning when Brandon Crawford reached on a two-out error by third baseman Ha-Seong Kim and advanced to second on a walk by Wilmer Flores. They caught another when tried to check his swing and flared an RBI single to left field, scoring Crawford from second and extending the Giants’ lead to 2-0.

, who was named the 2021 Willie Mac Award winner prior to Friday’s game, added an insurance run with a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning. Relievers José Álvarez, Dominic Leone, Tyler Rogers and combined to fire four innings to seal the Giants’ 17th shutout win of the year.

Thousands of Giants fans stuck around after Doval recorded his third save in the last four days to watch the ending of the Dodgers game on the video scoreboard at Oracle Park, though the crowd began to thin out once Los Angeles began to pull away in the late innings.

The Giants were keeping tabs on the Dodgers game in their own clubhouse, too, but they can take solace in knowing that they still control their own destiny. They’ll send right-hander to the mound to start opposite Joe Musgrove on Saturday afternoon as they attempt to continue to fend off the Dodgers.

“I think we’re just expecting to play a meaningful game tomorrow,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “That was our expectation all along. We’ll be prepared for that.”