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Three best moments of Giants' wild win over Dodgers

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Buster Posey has seen it all in this rivalry.

He has seen walk-offs and blowouts on both sides. He has seen the Giants use the Los Angeles Dodgers as a runway to championships and watched the Dodgers repeatedly run away with the division. He has spent a decade battling Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen, and has watched the Matt Kemps and Andre Ethiers turn into Mookie Betts and Corey Seager.

But Posey hasn't seen a whole lot of Giants-Dodgers battles like this one.

In a game in which both teams ran out of bodies, the Giants outlasted the Dodgers, winning on a throwing error in the 11th to pull back ahead in the NL West. Posey said it was one of the best Giants-Dodgers games he's been a part of.

"It's up there at the top, for sure," Posey said. "Really, really good pitching from both teams and a couple of really good offenses that were held to just a couple of runs -- three, obviously, there for us -- but good pitching across the board."

The Giants had just enough of it, and while they had a nightmare of a time with runners on base, they did a lot right, too. Here are three standout players and moments from a night that felt like a playoff game at Oracle Park:

Don't Forget DeSclafani

The Giants have bullpen games coming Saturday and Sunday, and because Dodgers lefty David Price felt elbow soreness before the opener, they also ended up going with a bullpen game to kick things off. On paper, that still didn't seem like an edge for the Giants.

 

DeSclafani allowed 22 runs in his first 21 innings against the Dodgers this year, but on Friday he gave up just two hits in six shutout innings. Manager Gabe Kapler credited him for having a good game plan and mixing his pitches up against a lineup full of All-Stars. 

"I felt like I was just commanding the slider and heater well. I had a couple good changeups and breaking balls mixed in there," DeSclafani said. "I just felt like overall the execution of the fastball and slider were probably better tonight than they have been."

The Dodgers might have cost DeSclafani an All-Star spot by hammering him in the first half, but he said he just tried to stay in the moment Friday night. He didn't think about the fact that this was his biggest start as a Giant. What he did do was save the bullpen ahead of two more of these.

"I just thought he mixed his pitches well, he hit his spots and his ball had good life," Kapler said. 

The Gold Glover

Brandon Crawford has held up remarkably well as a 34-year-old shortstop, in large part because of all the work he does before games. If there has been any slippage physically, it's more than made up for by the fact that Crawford always seems to be in the right spot and he absolutely always knows the right play to make. That was evident in the 11th when he cut the go-ahead run down at home.

"We ask our infielders in situations like that to look to cut the runner down at the plate first," Kapler said. "Crawford being as aware as he is, knew that that was the case and made a great throw."

The throw had to be perfect, but for more than a decade it just about always has been. Crawford never thought of going for two.

"When I saw how the ball was hit and how quickly it got to me I knew I was going to go home," he said. "I had kind of positioned myself in a spot where I thought on a normal ground ball I would be able to go home and get Turner there. A lot of that was kind of predetermined that I was going to try and get the out at home."

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The Gamble

Had Jake McGee closed this one out, all of the attention would have been on DeSclafani and the decision Kapler made in the third inning. LaMonte Wade Jr. hit cleanup for the first time, but with the bases loaded in the third and lefty Alex Vesia coming in, Kapler never hesitated. He called Wade back as soon as Roberts started walking to the mound and sent Austin Slater up. 

Kapler says it often and he did again Friday: This is why Slater is on the roster. Slater has an .833 OPS against lefties; Wade is 4-for-28 against them this year and 4-for-39 in his career. 

 

The numbers say it was the right move, but still, how many managers in the game right now would pull one of their best hitters in the third inning of a big game? It's Kapler and maybe Tampa Bay's Kevin Cash?

"It's always a very difficult decision to take a player out of the game that early for any number of reasons, in part because you don't know how that bullpen game is going to go, but I think it makes some sense when you have the bases loaded to think about that game -- and this is what I told LaMonte -- like it's in the seventh or the eighth inning," Kapler said. "Runs are going to be at a premium in a game like today's. We've used our bench aggressively all year long. I immediately grabbed LaMonte and told him that I know that he can perform in those kinds of situations, I have all the trust in the world in him, but Slater is on the roster for that moment. There are going to be days when LaMonte hits for Austin in the same kind of situation. 

"I think our players understand at this point. They're not just on board, but supportive."

Wade certainly was. Check out the most excited player in the dugout as Slater's go-ahead single shot into left field:

That was Wade cheering the hardest for the outfielder who just replaced him, and that image might say more about the 2021 Giants than anything. Kapler's move was unconventional by traditional standards but gave the Giants a one-run lead. Of course, it didn't hold up, but the Giants still found a way to win by a run.

Through 17 matchups this year, the Giants have nine wins and the Dodgers have eight. The Giants have 71 runs. The Dodgers have 70.

"Yeah," Posey said. "That's pretty remarkable."

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