San Francisco, CA – Tonight kicks off the final homestand of the season and the Giants have no doubt they’ll be playing in the Wild Card Game next week. Despite being eliminated from winning the National League West Division title, San Francisco’s in a three-way battle for the two NL wild-card berths.
Entering today’s game against the Colorado Rockies, the Giants are a half-game behind the New York Mets for the top-spot in the NL wild-card race. The St. Louis Cardinals trail San Francisco by one game. It’s a close race and the Giants are not worried, in fact they’ve been here before.
“This is not about to end,” said Angel Pagan. “We have to focus one game at a time. Six very important games but tonight is the most important one. We know what we want to accomplish, and we know what we need to do to get it done. Our experience of being here before means that we know how to find a way to win.”
The Los Angeles Dodgers clinched their fourth-straight division title on Sunday. In 2014 San Francisco qualified for the playoffs and defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates in the NL Wild Card game. They went on to beat the Washington Nationals in the National League Division Series, then defeated the Cardinals in the NL Championship Series.
In seven games the Giants beat the Kansas City Royals to win their third World Series. This veteran team remembers their struggles from years past and use it to reflect on a new opportunities to return to the playoffs. A lot rides on this six-game homestand and San Francisco will take it one game at a time.
“A lot rides on this homestand,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “These are critical games as it should be, and we’ll play to that. We’ve got to get this offense clicking, it’s important that these at-bats come thru here in this six-game homestand.”
San Francisco didn’t disappoint. They scored four runs in the fifth to extend their lead to 6-1 and knocked out German Marquez in the process. Denard Span led off the frame with a double, Brandon Belt drove him in while Buster Posey and Hunter Pence hit back-to-back home runs before Pagan drove in Brandon Crawford who had triple in the inning.
The offensive outburst in the fifth is exactly what Bochy wanted from his players. A good combination of offense and defense is what was needed to take the first game the series. Matt Moore was superb on the mound tonight. He tossed 7.2 frames, allowed six hits, one run and struck out eleven.
“It’s a great opportunity, stay in the moment, trust in that and play good baseball,” said Pence. “We all love to play, ton of leaders on this team, sometimes you can get in your own way by trying to hard or pushing to hard, I think it’s really important to relax, have fun, and stay in the energy of the fans. Feels like playoff baseball right now.”
With the numbers the Giants put up tonight, it looked more like a football game. The final score was 12-3 in favor of San Francisco. They put up 19 hits, the most at home this season. The Giants 10 extra base hits was one shy of their record set August 28th against the Atlanta Braves at AT&T Park. Posey recored his 1000th career hit with his solo home run in the fifth.
“It’s a cool accomplishment,” Posey said. “Just thinking back to being a kid wanting to play in the Major Leagues was a dream come true. So to have a 1,000 hit is kinda hard to believe.”