It all comes down to four games. The Giants control their destiny against one of the best teams in baseball.
Big home runs from Brandon Crawford (1-for-3, HR, RBI), Mike Yastrzemski (2-for-3, HR, 2 RBIs), and Wilmer Flores (2-for-3, HR, RBI) gave Tyler Anderson (6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 4 BBs, 4 Ks) the run support he needed to hold on to a 5-4 win over the Padres in the first of two seven-inning games Friday.
The San Francisco Giants welcomed the playoff-bound San Diego Padres to Oracle Park for a four-game series to close out the regular season. In the middle of a wild card push, the Giants needed to win some games against their division rival.
Anderson got the nod in game one against Padres righty Chris Paddack.
The first of two seven-inning doubleheaders began with a 1-2-3 top of the first inning from Anderson. The Giants offense followed quietly in the bottom of the first.
These two teams were destined to go toe-to-toe Friday. In the bottom of the second, Crawford launched a solo home run to center field to tie the game at 1-1.
More trouble for Anderson in the top of the third inning. A leadoff triple from Trent Grisham gave the Padres the go-ahead run in scoring position.
A ground out was followed by a walk, which set up an inning-ending double play, stranding Grisham at third. A great effort from Anderson to escape trouble.
Yastrzemski made his return to the Giants lineup, doubling to lead off the bottom of the third inning. The Giants would strand him in scoring position.
Fast forward to the bottom of the fourth inning, Flores gave the Giants the lead with a solo home run to left center.
Flores spoke Friday about the doubleheader, and the atmosphere the team was playing in, even without fans:
Yastrzemski kept the line moving, launching a booming two-run home run to McCovey Cove. The Giants jumped out to a 5-1 lead.
The Giants put up a four spot on Paddack in the fourth, knocking him out of the game.
Anderson held the Padres lineup to just one run Friday, while walking four batters in six innings.
At 90 pitches, Anderson came back out for the seventh in an effort to complete a rare seven-inning complete game.
A leadoff double knocked Anderson out of the game in the seventh, failing to record an out. Tony Watson came on in relief.
After the games, Giants manager Gabe Kapler had high praise for his starting pitcher:
“Tyler [Anderson] was excellent. He was competitive and fiery and focused and just did a great job across the board.”
Watson walked a runner and surrendered a double, scoring the runer from second. Just like that, the tying run came to the plate in Manny Machado.
A dribbler out in front of home plate resulted in a throwing error from Watson to first, scoring another run. With no outs, the Giants were showing signs of imploding.
Two fly balls, one scoring the runner from third, cut the Giants lead to 5-4. With two outs, a fly ball to center ended it. Watson nearly blew a four run lead, but he pulled through.
With a win in game one, the Giants (29-28) climbed back above .500, the same record as the Cincinnati Reds (29-28) who held the seventh seed at the time of this writing.
|NL playoff standings||W||L||PCT|
|1|| Los Angeles
NL West 1st
NL East 1st
NL Central 1st
|4|| San Diego
NL West 2nd
|5|| St. Louis
NL Central 2nd
NL East 2nd
The St. Louis Cardinals (28-27) lost the first game of their doubleheader to the Milwaukee Brewers (28-29). Things will certainly change over the course of the next few hours.