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What we learned as Giants take West, set franchise wins record

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SAN FRANCISCO -- It took a franchise-record 107 wins, but the Giants are National League West champions for the first time since 2012. 

Logan Webb was brilliant on the mound and hit a two-run homer Sunday, leading the Giants to an 11-4 win over the San Diego Padres that locked up the division title. This is a franchise known for big-time pitching performances in huge spots, and Webb joined the club by allowing pitching into the eighth and striking out eight.

The Giants needed it, because the Los Angeles Dodgers refused to go away. When the game at Oracle Park ended, the Dodgers were beating the Brewers 7-1. 

This one turned into a party early on, with the Giants scoring twice in the third and five times in the fourth. Webb's two-run homer in the fifth, the first of his career, was the cherry on top. 

The Giants ended the Dodgers' eight-year run atop the NL West and finished with the most wins by an NL team since the 1986 New York Mets won 108. They will host Game 1 of the NLDS on Friday against the winner of Wednesday's Wild Card Game between the Dodgers and red-hot St. Louis Cardinals. 

Shades of Bumgarner

Webb did it all Sunday, but it's the homer that he likely will be most proud of. He hasn't hit one since he was a two-sport star at Rocklin High, but he has often talked about clearing the wall. Webb hit one 399 feet earlier this season but it hit the center field wall and he had to settle for a single. 

 

Webb tied a San Francisco-era franchise record by scoring three runs. He singled in his first at-bat and walked in the fourth after nearly getting drilled by a Dinelson Lamet pitch as he squared to bunt. The homer was the first by a Giants pitcher since Bumgarner in 2019.

On the mound, Webb had some of his best stuff of the year. He struck out the side in the first, sitting 94 mph with the vertical sink that the Giants usually see from Kevin Gausman's splitter. Webb ended up getting charged with four earned runs because the Padres rallied in the eighth, but he finished the year 11-3 with a 3.03 ERA. The Giants won 18 of his final 20 starts of the season. 

Mr. 1,500

Buster Posey has spent all year adding to his Hall of Fame resume, and he'll get a chance for a few more October heroics. On the third day of the month, he gave the Giants an early lead with a two-run single with the bases loaded in the second. Posey's second hit of the game gave him 1,500 for his career.

The Giants have been extremely careful with Posey's playing time this season, but he started five of six to close out the year. He's playing some of his best baseball, and entered the day batting .316 over his previous 22 games. Posey finished the 2021 season with 18 homers, his most since 2015. He batted .304 and had a .889 OPS, his highest since he was NL MVP in 2012.. 

Goodbye, Wo

This was Ron Wotus' final regular season game as a member of the coaching staff and he was a big part of the action, before and during the game. Wotus caught the ceremonial first pitch and his brother served as the ball dude down the third base line. 

Wotus was busy as the third base coach, too. He was tested in the third when Tommy La Stella singled to center with two outs and Webb on second. Wotus held Webb, and it appeared it would have been a bang-bang play at the plate. Wotus was banking on the lineup keeping it going, and they did, with Posey's single bringing Webb home a few minutes later.

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Wotus will go down as perhaps the greatest coach in franchise history. He is the longest-tenured coach the Giants have had, working more than 2,000 wins over 24 seasons on the big league staff. He worked under Dusty Baker, Felipe Alou, Bruce Bochy and Gabe Kapler, and all four managers taped videos that were played on the scoreboard in the middle of the fourth inning. Wotus got a standing ovation as he walked out to the third base box after the final video.

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