Saturday’s NL West-clinching victory over the San Diego Padres was the second earliest division clinching win among the Giants’ eight NL West Division titles.
Amazingly, six of the division titles were clinched with wins by the Giants over the Padres. Even one of the two titles that were not clinched with a Giants win over the Padres, one of them was clinched by a Padres’ loss.
So let’s relive the previous seven San Francisco Giants’ division clinching moments. Remember, division play began in 1969.
Thursday, Sept. 30, 1971 (Game 162)
Giants 5, Padres 1
Final record: Giants 90-72, +1 over Dodgers
On the final day of the season, the Giants clinched the division title over the Dodgers by one game. Willie Mays had an RBI double and Dave Kingman belted a two-run home run as part of a three-run fourth inning at San Diego Stadium. Juan Marichal did the rest, going the distance for his 18th win of the season.
Monday, Sept. 28, 1987 (Game 156)
Giants 5, Padres 4
Final record: Giants 90-72, +6 over Reds
The Giants were seven games up on the Reds with seven to play when they opened a three-game set in San Diego. Don Robinson was the hero of the game, entering the game in the fifth inning in relief of starter Dave Dravecky. Dravecky was lifted for a pinch-hitter with the bases loaded in the top of the fifth. Robinson pitched five solid innings and even belted the go-ahead home run in the eighth inning. Tony Gwynn, who opened the ninth with single, was on third base with two out when John Kruk hit a fly to left that Jeffrey Leonard caught on the warning track to end the game. An interesting sidenote: Who struck out in the fourth inning against Dravecky as a pinch-hitter for the Padres? Bruce Bochy.
Wednesday, Sept. 27, 1989 (Game 159)
Dodgers 1, Giants 0 (Reds 2, Padres 1, 13 inn.)
Final record: Giants 92-70, +3 over Padres
The Giants were in Los Angeles when they clinched this title. But this title was clinched in San Diego. Even after losing the opener of a three-game series in LA, the Giants were five up with five to go, needed to win one of two games to clinch the division. But after losing 1-0 to the Dodgers on the 27th, the Giants were in the clubhouse at Dodger Stadium when Eric Davis’ RBI double helped the Reds win in the 13th, meaning the Giants didn’t have to go to San Diego for the season-ending series still up 3 on the Padres.
Saturday, Sept. 27, 1997 (Game 161)
Giants 6, Padres 1
Final record: Giants 90-72, +2 over Dodgers
J.T. Snow had a two-run double and Wilson Alvarez, acquired before the trade deadline threw seven shutout innings at Candlestick Park as the Giants clinched their four NL Western Division title, all created by a loss by the Padres (three of them were Giants wins).
Thursday, Sept. 21, 2000 (Game 152)
Giants 8, Diamondbacks 7
Final record: Giants 97-65, +11 over Dodgers
At Pacific Bell Park, the Giants took the lead in the bottom of the eight on pinch-hitter Russ Davis’ sacrifice fly to score J.T. Snow. Another pinch-hitter, Felipe Crespo, singled home Ellis Burks for an insurance run. The Giants needed the insurance as Danny Bautista doubled home Tony Womack. But Robb Nen got Jay Bell on a deep fly ball to center for the final out.
Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2003 (Game 150)
Giants 8, Padres 3
Final record: Giants 100-61, +15.5 over Dodgers
At Pacific Bell Park, the Padres took a 3-0 lead in the top of the second. But Andres Galarraga smacked a two-run homer in the second, and the Giants took the lead in the third inning on Marquis Grissom’s two-run homer. From their Jason Schmidt settled down for seven strong innings and 11 strikeouts.
Sunday, Oct. 3 (Game 162)
Giants 3, Padres 0
Final record: 92-70, +2 over Padres
At AT&T Park, Freddy Sanchez’s RBI single scored Jonathan Sanchez, who had tripled, then Aubrey Huff doubled home Freddy Sanchez for a 2-0 Giants lead in the third inning. Buster Posey homered in the eighth. The rest of the story was five shutout innings from Jonathan Sanchez, and four more zeros posted by Santiago Casilla, Ramon Ramirez, Javier Lopez, Sergio Romo and Brian Wilson.
If the Giants are going to have success in the post-Melky era, Friday’s game at San Diego is the model for how they should go about doing it.
The Giants got outstanding pitching from Matt Cain and offensive contributions from up and down the lineup to pound the Padres in the opener of their three-game series.
For the ninth time in their past 14 road games, the Giants scored six runs or more. Not surprising, the Giants are 9-0 in those game. They are 1-4 in the other five games in that stretch. They have six of their past eight road games.
The win, coupled with the Braves’ extra-inning win over the Dodgers, pushed the Giants back into first place in the NL West by a half-game.
Every starter in the Giants’ lineup — including pitcher Matt Cain — collected at least one hit. Five Giants had multi-hit games:
- Angel Pagan was 3 for 5 with a triple
- Marco Scutaro was 2 for 5 with a home run
- Hunter Pence was 2 for 4 with a double
- Gregor Blanco was 2 for 4
- Brandon Crawford was 2 for 5 with a double, extending his current hitting streak to nine games.
Matt Cain, who watched his ERA climb in each of his four starts from July 21 to Aug. 6, put together his second consecutive quality start, holding the Padres hitless until the fifth inning and finishing with one earned run on four hits, no walks in eight innings of work. He struck out six.
I have to admit that MoreSplashHits was not very excited when the Giants signed Ryan Theriot to a one-year deal in the offseasn.
We weren’t anymore excited when the Giants kept him after a poor spring.
Even less excited when Bruce Bochy kept running Theriot out at second base earlier in the season when he was hitting well below the Mendoza Line.
When the Giants sent Theriot to the disabled list on May 10 with an inflamed elbow, MoreSplashHits speculated that the injury could have been fabricated to give Theriot some time off to work on things.
That may very well have been the case, or he may have actually had an inflamed elbow. But whatever Theriot did over those 15 days on the DL, it certainly work.
Theriot was hitting .179 with one double, 2 runs, and 2 RBI when he went on the DL. Since coming off the DL on May 25, he’s hitting .413 (19 for 46) with three doubles, eight runs and six RBI.
Theriot went 4 for 5 with a double, run and RBI in the Giants’ 8-3 win over the Padres Thursday, raising his season average to .284.
Not only that, but he’s also played a solid second base defensively.
And the Giants are 9-4 since Theriot came off the DL.
Theriot’s recent surge led Giants manager Bruce Bochy to declare that Theriot will be his second baseman when Pablo Sandoval comes off the DL next week. Four week ago, that wasn’t the case with Bochy saying that Joaquin Arias would see most of the starts at second when the Panda returned.
We doubt others will do so, but MoreSplashHits is not above admitting we were wrong about The Riot.
- We noted Wednesday that the Giants have hit as many home runs as errors they have committed in the previous nine games — one of each. Well, that almost held true on Thursday. The Giants kicked the ball around for four errors Thursday, sending them back into the MLB lead. But they also belted three home runs — one each by Buster Posey, Angel Pagan and Gregor Blanco.
- The Giants stole three bases on Thursday (Theriot, Melky Cabrera and Pagan) on three attempts, making them six for seven on steal attempts in the series.
- Because of two errors in the inning, all three runs the Padres scored off Matt Cain in the third were unearned. Cain went seven strong innings for the win, dropping his ERA to 2.41.
- Santiago Casilla made his first appearance his bruising his tibia last Friday. Wearing a knee brace, Casilla earned a four-out save, although he wasn’t his usual overpowering self. He walked two, gave up one hit and did not strike out a batter.
Barry Zito goes to the hill Friday as the Texas Rangers make their first visit to AT&T Park since Game 2 of the 2010 World Series. Matt Harrison will start for Texas, which is 0-11 in games at AT&T Park. Game time is 7:15 p.m.
The Giants did something Wednesday that they haven’t been able to do since May 27 in Miami.
They hit a home run.
And it came off the potent bat of Gregor Blanco.
Blanco’s blast not only helped the Giants win for the seventh time in nine games — nine games with just one home run — it moved the Giants out of a 29th-place tie for home runs by a team in the majors.
It was the Giants’ 32nd home run of the season, one ahead of the Padres.
In fact, if the Giants were to hit eight home runs in Thursday’s game, they would still rank 29th in the majors in home runs.
One of the Bay Area scribe’s recently wrote that the Giants cannot expect to keep up their winning ways with such little power productions. But the Giants are finding other ways to score runs and win games.
Besides hitting just one home run in the past nine games, the Giants also have only one of another stat: Errors.
That’s right. Even though the Giants rank first in the National League with 51 errors (only second in the majors behind the Orioles’ 52), they have only committed one error in the past nine games. They are on a six-game errorless streak.
They have not committed an error by an infielder since May 26, and have not had a multi-error game since May 23, the last time shortstop Brandon Crawford committed an error.
It addition to good glove work, the Giants have been good with the bats in other ways.
Their 506 hits ranks fifth in the majors and third in the NL behind the Cardinals and Phillies.
Their 22 triples leads the majors.
And even though they don’t hit fly balls over the fence, they hit them deep enough score runs. Their 23 sacrifice flies is tied for the major league lead with the Red Sox.
On Wednesday, the Giants knocked out 11 hits. Every positions player had at least one, with Blanco, Melky Cabrera and Brett Pill (he really need that) having two-hit games.
Buster Posey lifted his team-high five sacrifice fly.
So the Giants are showing that good pitching, hitting and defense is good enough to win … at least against the Padres, Cubs and Diamondbacks. Doing that against the Rangers may be a different story.
Matt Cain takes the hill against Jason Marquis in a 12:35 p.m. game on Thursday.
At first glance at Tuesday’s start, it seems like the same old story for Tim Lincecum.
One bad inning.
Lincecum gave up four runs on five hits — and just one walk — in six innings of work. All four runs (not to mention four of the hits and the lone walk) occurred in the second inning.
In the other five innings, Lincecum set down 15 of the 16 batters he faced. Carlos Quentin’s sixth-inning double was the lone baserunner in those innings. All eight of Lincecum’s strikeouts came after the Padres’ four-run second.
But even the second inning wasn’t as terrible as it looked.
It started off bad, with a Quentin home run followed by a Chase Headley double.
After John Baker flied out, Logan Fosythe walked, then Everth Cabrera singled home the second run.
But this is where Lincecum almost escaped without further damage.
Anthony Bass, attempting to sacrifice, bunted hard to Brandon Belt, who threw out Forsythe at third. But in making the glove exchange, third baseman Joaquin Arias dropped the ball, preventing an inning-ending double play.
However, on second glance, the Giants were lucky to get one out on the play.
Replays showed that Arias not only came off the bag before catching the ball, it’s not even clear he caught the ball cleanly at all. So could have easily had been bases loaded with one out.
That’s important because Cameron Maybin then hit a Lincecum changeup off his shoe tops for a broken-bat, two-run double.
Lincecum said: “Nine times out of 10 if I throw that same pitch to him, maybe it’s a double play.”
Well, as long as Starlin Castro isn’t your shortstop.
But after the second, Lincecum shut down the Padres and gave his team a chance to rally, which they did by tying the game with a three-run sixth.
The Giants even took the lead in the seventh, giving Lincecum the chance to get the win.
But home runs in the eighth by Quentin and in the ninth of Forsythe (his first career home run) turned a possible win into a Giants loss — the seventh consecutive loss in a Lincecum start.
Since May 4, the Giants are 0-7 in Lincecum starts; 19-5 in starts by the other four starters.
Madison Bumgarner starts against Clayton Richard in a funky San Diego 3:35 p.m. start.
Tim Lincecum is still not the Tim Lincecum we are used to seeing dominate teams. But he made another positive step in that direction.
After getting his first win of the season Monday in New York, Lincecum got another win in a solid eight-inning, 122-pitch outing against the Padres.
So let’s break it down, the good and the bad.
GOOD: He got his first quality start of the season, giving up no earned runs in eight innings. His ERA is at 5.74 now.
BAD: His velocity is still not what we’re used to seeing. He hit 90 and 91 at spots, but was consistently at 89 mph most of the game.
GOOD: He stayed at 89 mph all the way through the game, even as his pitch count got up into the 120s.
BAD: He struggled to knock batters out with a strikeout pitch. He only had five, his second lowest-total this season despite facing a season-high 31 batters. And three of those strikeouts were to the opposing pitcher, Anthony Bass.
GOOD: Even though the Padres were hitting the ball, they were making outs. The Padres only managed three hits and none of them left the infield: a swinging bunt by Jesus Guzman in the first inning, a grounder by Yonder Alonso to second baseman Emmanuel Burriss in the second inning which was originally rules an error (correctly), then changed to a hit (incorrectly), and a bunt single by Will Venable in the eighth.
BAD: Lincecum walked four.
GOOD: Yes, but only one of them came after the third inning.
BAD: If not for two stellar running catches to the warning track by Melky Cabrera in left, it would have been much worse for Lincecum.
GOOD: After those hard shots in the fourth, Lincecum set down 8 of the next 9 without much fuss. In fact those outs by Cabrera were part of a stretch when Lincecum retired 12 of 13.
BAD: It was the Padres.
GOOD: It’s part of a longer stretch. Lincecum has now allowed one earned run in the past 13 innings (0.62 ERA) and two earned runs in his past 17 innings (1.06 ERA).
- Pablo Sandoval went 0 for 4 to end his season-opening hitting streak at 20. A blessing in disguise maybe. The Panda appeared to be pressing in recent days and did not look good Saturday, making out on first pitches three times.
- Angel Pagan’s bunt single in the eighth extended his hitting streak to 13 games.
- Brandon Belt had the big hit with his two-run double in the seventh inning. He’s hitting .278 now.
- Lincecum broke up Bass’ perfect game bid with an infield single in the sixth.
- Santiago Casilla recorded his third save in three tries, striking out one and only allowing a baserunner on his own error.
- Before the game, the Giants sent pitcher Eric Hacker back to Fresno after his quality start Friday and called up reliever Steve Edlefsen to give them seven pitchers in the bullpen again.
Madison Bumgarner faces lefty Clayton Richard. No word whether Saturday’s hero Belt will be in there vs. a lefty or if we’ll see Brett Pill, or even Buster Posey at 1B (day game after night game) and Hector Sanchez catching. We’ll look for Belt in there (either at first or left field) and scuffling Nate Schierholtz to get a day off.