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What we learned as Giants beat Padres, increase NL West lead

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Kris Bryant

SAN DIEGO -- As the Giants took batting practice at Petco Park on Wednesday evening, a member of the staff looked up at the scoreboard in right field, which showed other games starting to get underway.

"Are the Rockies going to help us out tonight?" he asked.

They did, and the Giants did their part, too. 

Buster Posey had four hits and scored three runs and the Giants pulled away with an 8-6 win over the San Diego Padres, who are in danger of falling below .500. The win came on a night the Dodgers lost 10-5 at Coors Field, meaning the Giants have taken a two-game lead in the NL West with 10 to go. 

The magic number to clinch the division title is just nine, which is appropriate, since this was win No. 99 for the Giants. This is just the ninth time in franchise history that they have won 99 games. 

The Giants took a three-run lead in the first and scored five runs over the sixth and seventh, which would prove crucial since the Padres -- led by Fernando Tatis Jr., who hit his 40th homer -- kept charging in the late innings. 

Interim closer Tyler Rogers was brought on with a four-run lead in the ninth and immediately ran into trouble. A leadoff walk and double got the Padres going, and a groundout and single brought two runs across. Rogers then walked Jurickson Profar to bring Tatis up to the plate as the winning run. 


Tatis gave the Giants a scare by hitting a fly ball to left, but Kris Bryant settled under it in front of the warning track. Heart attacks were had, but the Giants escaped with a huge win. 


Before Wednesday's game, Giants manager Gabe Kapler raved about the stuff and poise Camilo Doval showed during Tuesday's game and said it was time to push the rookie right-hander a bit. Well, the fifth inning certainly qualified.

Doval entered with one Padres run already across, the bases loaded and Manny Machado -- who has hit just about everything 105-plus mph in this series -- strolling to the plate. A couple of minutes later, Doval calmly patted his chest and walked off the mound, the Giants still leading 3-1. 

Doval hit 102.5 mph on Tuesday night but threw three straight sliders to Machado, who meekly struck out. He then opened Tommy Pham with a 100 mph fastball. Pham bounced another slider to short, where Brandon Crawford started an inning-ending double play. 

The 24-year-old was so calm during the whole thing that assistant pitching coach J.P. Martinez had to check Doval's pulse when he got back to the dugout: 

Great Scott

It has been more than three months since the Giants DFA'd Scott Kazmir, but he stayed in pitching shape by helping Team USA win a silver medal at the Olympics, and he threw well enough when he returned to Triple-A Sacramento that the Giants felt he could give them some strong innings and save the bullpen. They were right. 

Kazmir had some BABIP luck, but also flashed a 95 mph fastball and good changeup while getting through the first four innings. He left a mess in the fifth, but part of that was because of a ball Brandon Crawford couldn't snag and a catcher's interference call. Kazmir allowed four hits, walked three and struck out three. The Giants couldn't have asked for much more than that. 

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Hot Start

Vince Velasquez, a failed reclamation project for the Padres, needed 37 pitches to get through the first inning. The Giants led 3-0 when it was over, with all three runs coming on Bryant's double to right-center with the bases loaded and one out. The Giants had loaded them on a catcher's interference (yes, there were two of them in this game), a walk and a bloop. 

With the double, Bryant reached base safely for the 20th consecutive game. That's the third-longest active streak in MLB and Bryant's longest since he reached in 23 straight in 2019 with the Cubs. 

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