SAN DIEGO -- The Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers entered the final two weeks of the season separated by just a game in the standings. The first night of the finishing stretch was even closer than that, but the Giants once again escaped with the NL West lead.
They overcame an early deficit and beat the San Diego Padres 6-5 at Petco Park on LaMonte Wade Jr.'s RBI single in the ninth. The hit was Wade's 12th in 19 ninth-inning at-bats this season and helped the Giants stay ahead of the Dodgers, who beat the Rockies in 10 innings earlier in the night.
With their 13th road win in their last 15 tries, the Giants reached 98 wins for just the fourth time since the franchise moved to San Francisco. The latest victory came on one of the more intense nights of the season.
Petco Park was rocking early as the Padres hit three homers while taking a 4-1 lead after three innings, but as they always do, the Giants chipped away. They tied it in the sixth and then took the lead, only to watch Austin Nola tie it with a fourth Padres homer while leading off the bottom of the inning.
The bottom of seventh and top of eighth were all about close calls. Dominic Leone gave up a couple of loud outs in the bottom of the seventh, including a Manny Machado laser that looked like his third homer of the night but was tracked down by Mike Yastrzemski 398 feet from the plate. A few minutes later, Wil Myers reached over the same wall to rob Steven Duggar of what would have been a go-ahead two-run homer.
The luck turned in a huge way an inning later. Brandon Belt and Buster Posey blooped one-out singles with exit velocities of 71 and 75 mph, respectively. Wade Jr. followed with a flare to left that was hit just 65 mph but got about an inch above Fernando Tatis Jr.'s glove. Belt was running the whole way and scored just ahead of the throw home, handing a one-run lead over to Tyler Rogers.
The bottom of the ninth started with a rare error by Brandon Crawford, and after Rogers struck out Fernando Tatis Jr., a high chopper to short put the winning run on first base. But Machado hit a scorcher to first and Belt and Crawford turned an impressive double play to clinch the win.
Up And Down The Line
The Giants left the bases loaded in the first inning and then went down quietly for three innings. The effort to get back in the game truly was a teamwide one.
Wilmer Flores got the first run back with a pinch-hit single in the fifth, the third consecutive hit to start that inning against Joe Musgrove. Buster Posey's sacrifice fly got the Giants back within a run.
Kris Bryant and Brandon Crawford opened the sixth with back-to-back doubles, tying the game. Yastrzemski's sac fly later in the inning brought Crawford home to briefly give the Giants the lead.
Through six innings, the Giants had eight hits from eight different players. Buster Posey became the ninth with a one-out double in the seventh, but he was stranded.
They Hit The Split
In 42 previous appearances for the Giants, Kevin Gausman had thrown more than 1,200 splitters and allowed just two home runs. Machado crushed two splitters to the decks of the Western Metal Supply Co. building in the first three innings, and Tommy Pham hit one out, too.
The first three-homer game of Gausman's two seasons with the Giants was poorly timed, and he lasted just four innings in his shortest start in exactly a month. Gausman gave up nine hits and struck out just three. The splitter was hanging all night, and that's something he'll need to figure out before starting at Coors Field this weekend. On this night, at least the lineup got him off the hook for a loss.
Lighting It Up
Camilo Doval handled the fifth and had the kind of outing that makes you sure he's going to close games for the Giants someday, and possibly someday very soon. Doval sat at 101 mph with his fastball and topped out at 102.5, but he wasn't just reaching back for gas. He threw 19 pitches and 16 of them were strikes, and he continued to show a good slider.
The Giants had just four pitchers reach 100 mph over the previous decade, but Doval should pretty easily sit there when he's feeling good. Right now, he's feeling good. He has thrown 7 1/3 scoreless innings since being called up from Triple-A on Sept. 5.