San Francisco Giants Darrin Ruf (33) gets congratulations from third base coach Ron Wotus (8) after hitting a first inning home run at Oracle Park in San Francisco against the visiting San Diego Padres on Fri Oct 1, 2021 (AP News photo)
By Jeremy Kahn
SAN FRANCISCO-With the chant of BEAT LA reverberating around Oracle Park, it is quite possible the San Francisco Giants players and coaching staff heard the chant.
Darin Ruf hit a solo home run in the bottom of the first inning and Mike Yastrzemski added a run-scoring single, helping the Giants to a 3-0 victory over the San Diego Padres before an announced crowd of 33,975 at Oracle Park.
With the victory, the Giants have now won seven games in a row and this was their 106th win of the season, tying the 1904 New York Giants for the most wins in franchise history.
Also with the victory, the Giants lowered their magic number to win their first National League Western Division Championship since 2012 down to just one.
Anthony DeSclafani went the first five innings for the Giants, as he did not allow a run, scattered four hits, walking no one and struck out three on his way to his 13th win of the season.
It looked like the Giants might clinch the division on this night, especially when the NL Central Division Champion Milwaukee Brewers took an early 5-1 lead on the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium; however, Chris Taylor hit a game-tying grand slam in the bottom of the fifth inning and then the Dodgers took the lead for good in the bottom of the seventh inning, as Matt Beaty hit a pinch-hit home run off of former Giants reliever Jandel Gustave.
Mookie Betts was then hit by a pitch, Corey Seager then singled and then Gustave unleashed a wild pitch that sent Betts and Seager up an additional 90 feet.
With runners on second and third, Gustave intentionally walked and threw his second wild pitch that scored Betts from third base.
After Justin Turner grounded out for the second out of the inning, Max Muncy drove in the third and final run of the inning, when he hit an infield single that scored Seager.
Following the Ruf home run, after Buster Posey flew out to Wil Myers for the second out of the inning, Brandon Crawford reached on a fielding error by Ha-Seong Kim at third base, Wilmer Flores then walked and then Yastrzemski drove in Crawford with a single.
The defensive play of the game came in the top of the sixth inning, when it looked like the Padres would have the bases loaded with two outs or would have cut the Giants lead in half; however, neither one happened.
After Jose Alvarez retired the first two batters of the inning, Fernando Tatis, Jr., singled to right field and then Jake Cronenworth followed that up with an infield hit that sent Tatis to second base. Following the Cronenworth single, Eric Hosmer hit one of third base that bounced right to Evan Longoria, who saw that Tatis, Jr. rounded the third base bag and headed towards home plate, in which Longoria followed Tatis, Jr. and eventually tagged him out for the final out of the inning, thus ending the rally.
LaMonte Wade, Jr., gave the Giants a little breathing in the bottom of the sixth inning, when he hit a sacrifice fly to center field that was deep enough for Donovan Solano to score that all important third run of the game.
Solano doubled to lead off the inning off of Drew Stammen, who was able to get the next three out; however, that the sacrifice fly by Wade, Jr.
Alvarez pitched the sixth inning in relief of DeSclafani, as he allowed three hits, including that last one to Hosmer that saw Tatis get tagged out by Longoria to end the inning.
Yastrzemski saved what could have been a home run by Myers that ended up being a double that led off the top of the seventh inning off of Dominic Leone.
That would be the only blemish that Leone would allow in the inning, as he then retired Kim, Victor Cartini, as Myers went to third and Jurickson Profar popped out to Longoria to end the inning.
Tyler Rogers came on in the top of the eighth inning, as he allowed a double to Tatis, Jr., with two outs; however, he was then able to get out of the little jam, when Cronenworth struck out looking to end the inning.
Camilo Doval came on in the top of the ninth inning, and struck out the first two batters before Kim to ground out to Crawford to end the game that sent the Oracle Park crowd into a frenzy.
This was the third save in three opportunities for Doval, as he struck out two in his only inning of work.
NOTES: Wade, Jr., was named the winner of the Willie McCovey award, the most prestigious honor in the Giants organization.
Joining Wade, Jr., in the pregame ceremony on the field were past winners like Chris Speier, Dave Dravecky, Mike Felder, J.T. Snow, Andres Torres, Hunter Pence, Buster Posey (from the bullpen), Crawford, Yastrzemski and Mike Krukow (who was in the broadcast booth). Wade, Jr., received the award from Allison McCovey the daughter of McCovey, who passed away of October 31, 2018 at the age of 80.
Scott Kazmir was placed on the 10-day injured list with a right hamstring strain and Sammy Long was recalled from Sacramento to replace Kazmir on the roster.
The 106 victories by the Giants are the most by a team that finished the season under .500 in the previous year.
When the month of September came to a close on Thursday night, the Giants ended the month with a record of 21-5 (.778) was the best September ever since they moved to California in 1958 and their best September since they went 20-5 (.800) in 1951, the same year they came back from 13 games out to defeat the Brooklyn Dodgers on Bobby Thomsons three-run home run off of Ralph Branca in the bottom of the ninth inning that gave then New York Giants a thrilling 5-4 victory to give the Giants the NL Pennant on October 3, 1951 at the Polo Grounds.
With the Giants game coming to a close early, the Giants allowed their fans to stay in the ballpark to watch the conclusion of the Dodgers versus Brewers game on the big screen in centerfield.
UP NEXT: Kevin Gausman heads to the mound, as he searches for his 15th win of the season for the Giants, while Joe Musgrove will take the mound for the Padres, as he goes for his 12th of the campaign.