SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants won’t host a postseason game this year, but Saturday’s matchup at AT&T Park was about as close as you can get during the regular season. With National League West and Wild Card spots on the line, the Giants and Dodgers went back and forth in front of a packed house that seemed evenly split.
After three-and-a-half hours of tense baseball, the Giants could only watch as the Dodgers celebrated on their home field. With a 10-6 win, the Dodgers have clinched at least a spot in the NL Wild Card Game. The race in the west will come down to the final Sunday of the regular season, and the Giants can still have an impact there. On this day, they came up short.
The Dodgers stranded five runners in the sixth and seventh but broke through with two down in the eighth. Manny Machado smacked a triple off the bricks in right, bringing Chris Taylor home as the go-ahead run.
Here's what you need to know from a fun game ...
--- Derek Rodriguez had his second-shortest start as a big leaguer, allowing five runs in three innings. Still, he finished the season with a 2.81 ERA. That’s the lowest by a Giants rookie since 1952.
--- In 21 previous starts at AT&T Park, Clayton Kershaw had allowed more than two earned runs just once, but the Giants took a 3-2 lead in the third. Gregor Blanco singled and Hunter Pence doubled, and when Joe Panik lined a single to left, Pence nearly caught Blanco as he rounded third. Perhaps he got an all-time read, perhaps he just decided to yell YOLO and go. Either way, the Giants had a two-run single and the lead.
--- Abiatal Avelino started the game-tying rally in the fifth. Avelino singled off Kershaw and raced home when Pence pulled a double into the left field corner. His head-first slide beat the throw, and he jumped up, emphatically motioned that he was safe, and then threw in a crotch chop. Fun player!
--- Kershaw had his worst regular-season start in years, allowing five earned on eight hits. He nearly was charged with seven runs, but Nick Hundley’s fly ball to deep left was caught, ending Kershaw’s day after five. He entered the day with a 1.30 ERA at AT&T Park.
--- Tony Watson entered with runners on the corners and no outs in the sixth. He struck out Chris Taylor, got Justin Turner to pop up, and struck out Max Muncy. Oh, Watson is a former Dodger, by the way.
--- Will Smith was charged with four earned in the ninth as the game got away from the Giants. His ERA went from 1.90 to 2.55.