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What we learned as Giants walk off on Dodgers' error in 11th

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Buster Posey swinging

SAN FRANCISCO -- All it took was two days for the Giants to regain sole possession of first place in the National League West. Oh, and a return to that wonderful land known as Torture.

The biggest game of the year turned out to be the wildest one of the year, with both teams running out of position players and the Dodgers running out of pitchers. At 11:18 p.m., in the bottom of the 11th, the Giants finally won 3-2 when a lengthy replay review confirmed that Trea Turner's throw to first was wild. 

Buster Posey came up in several big spots, the final one coming at the end of a four-hour, 32-minute game. He hit a grounder to second with the bases loaded and two outs, but Turner's throw took Will Smith off the bag. The celebration was delayed a few minutes, but finally happened.

By outlasting the Dodgers, the Giants moved a game up in the NL West. It wasn't easy, though. 

The Giants led just about all night, with Austin Slater's bases-loaded single in the third giving Anthony DeSclafani all he would need. DeSclafani had one of his best outings of the year, and easily his best performance against the Dodgers, but he wouldn't get the win.

The bullpen carried it to the ninth, but Jake McGee immediately ran into trouble. The Dodgers put runners on second and third with one out and McGee got a grounder to second. Buster Posey chased Justin Turner back to third, where the trail runner was ruled out. For a second, both Dodgers stepped off the bag, but Posey didn't tag Turner in time. The game continued and Chris Taylor tied it with a bloop to center. 

 

The Giants seemed to have Kenley Jansen on the ropes, but Jansen settled in with the winning run on second. Alex Dickerson flied out and Posey grounded out to send the game to extras. 

Albert Pujols was the free baserunner in the top of the 10th, and while he might be the slowest player in the big leagues, he managed to get to third on a deep fly ball to center. Dodgers ace Walker Buehler took over at third and scored the go-ahead run when Trea Turner hit another fly ball off Dominic Leone. 

The Giants had Posey placed on second to start the bottom of the inning and Brandon Crawford didn't wait around long. His single tied the game, but he wouldn't score the winning run. Mike Yastrzemski struck out against a lefty making his first big league appearance in two years and Curt Casali did the same against Dave Roberts' final reliever. 

The Dodgers wouldn't score in the top of the 11th, setting the stage for one last wild stretch at Oracle Park.

Friday Night Flamethrower 

It was clear early on that DeSclafani brought the good stuff, even as the Dodgers put some traffic on the bases. His fastball was 95 mph with movement and his slider had bite, and he used those pitches to get off to a hot start. Corey Seager swung over the top of a slider with two on and two outs in the first and DeSclafani struck out a pair in a quick second inning. 

The Dodgers never caught up to him, with DeSclafani getting some revenge on a team that probably cost him an All-Star berth by knocking him around in the first half. DeSclafani allowed 22 earned runs in his first 21 innings against the Dodgers this season but left with the Giants leaving 1-0 after six. He allowed two hits, walked three and struck out five.

This was DeSclafani's first scoreless start of at least five innings since July 10. It was also the first time since July 22 that he completed six innings. 

Making His Move

In the third inning of the biggest game of the year so far, Gabe Kapler pulled his cleanup hitter. 

It's not that simple, though. LaMonte Wade Jr. was hitting fourth for the first time and the Giants don't spend much time thinking about labels anyway. Kapler has been hyper-aggressive with pinch-hitters all season and he was again in the third, when former Giants prospect Phil Bickford loaded the bases with no outs. After Kris Bryant struck out on three pitches, Kapler pushed his chips to the center of the table.

The Dodgers brought lefty Alex Vesia in for Bickford and Kapler countered with Slater, one of his better options against lefties. He got what he was hoping for. Kapler smoked a two-strike pitch into left to give the Giants a 1-0 lead. It was the 39th RBI by a Giants pinch-hitter this season, the second-most in the Majors.

 
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Welcome Back

This can be a cruel game, and the Baseball Gods certainly didn't do Evan Longoria any favors in his return to the field after an IL stint. Longoria's last appearance came off Edwin Diaz, who sits at 100 mph, and he took a pitch off the top of his hand that knocked him out for a couple of weeks. 

The veteran was activated Friday and pinch-hit for DeSclafani in the sixth. His assignment? Try to hit Blake Treinen, one of the few righties even nastier than Diaz. Longoria bounced a grounder to third but Justin Turner's throw was low and Longoria reached on the error. The Giants would put two on, but Brandon Belt popped up to end the threat.

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