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Giants on track for team wins record after ninth straight

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SAN FRANCISCO -- When Buster Posey said Monday night that this Giants team is the best regular season group he has been part of, it was not the champagne and beer showers speaking. Posey is not at all prone to hyperbole, and he chooses his words carefully even in the most exciting of moments. 

But he has for a while seen something special in this group, and on Tuesday night, Posey was part of another offensive attack that validated that lofty praise.

The Giants scored a half-dozen runs for the ninth straight game and won for the ninth straight game. With a 6-1 walk in the park again the San Diego Padres, they stayed 2 1/2 games ahead of the Dodgers in the race for the NL West title, and they continued to take aim at the franchise's regular season record books. 

The Giants are on pace for 106 wins, which would tie the franchise record, but that pace assumes they'll keep playing as they have all season. Right now, with the postseason approaching, they have turned it up several notches. The ninth straight win was another relatively easy one, and it got Posey and the Brandons to a new landmark. 

The three have seen just about everything in the big leagues, but they have not been part of a Giants team that has won this many games in the regular season. They got to 95 with nearly three weeks remaining, and that was enough to have Belt agreeing with Posey's assessment. 

 

"I think it's hard to argue that right now," he said. "Every day we go out there and we really feel like we can win the ballgame, and I don't know if I've ever been on a team where I felt like that. We just had a plan from the beginning and we're really executing it right now."

The plan is particularly perfect at the plate right now. The latest win had plenty of standouts, including Anthony DeSclafani, who pitched 6 2/3 strong innings that allowed manager Gabe Kapler to once again rest most of his bullpen and set Dominic Leone and the rest of the top relievers up to try and take down another game Wednesday. Posey homered and Belt and Darin Ruf had RBI doubles, but this was not an effort led by three guys. 

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The Giants right now have a more balanced attack than any team in the National League, and this winning streak has perhaps not coincidentally come at a time when Kapler's team is nearly at full strength. In late August and earlier this month, Kapler at times lamented the lack of options he had during games. He pinch-hits more than any manager in the game, but a bout of minor injuries limited his options. 

On Tuesday, Kapler used two pinch-hitters and two pinch-runners, constantly looking for an edge. He got contributions up and down the lineup.

"It's certainly nice to know that we have really good options all the way through the game and it is a function of having a near-healthy roster," Kapler said. "We've worked hard to get here and now we have to work hard to stay here."

Kapler will continue to try and keep guys healthy, but he can't take his foot off the gas. About 24 hours after the Giants became the first team to clinch a playoff spot, the Dodgers became the second. They've won five straight down in Los Angeles, and as much as Posey might appreciate what the Giants have accomplished, he knows this is no time to think about it. 

"All the guys have such a healthy urgency every day," he said. "You can't sit back and reminisce at this point. There's still a lot of work and guys are getting to the ballpark each day and putting that work in and preparing and going out and trusting that the work that we've done leading up to that is going to pay off."

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