It has been five years since Brandon Belt toast to a single place in the el seriesplayoffs, so the Giants first baseman was admittedly short of practice when the champagne started to flow in the San Francisco clubhouse.
" I forgot how it burns to get in your eyes, but it burns so good, "said a beaming Belt. "We love it.
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The surprising Giants became the first team to land a playoff berth this season, hitting four home short to beat the Padres San Diego 9-1 Monday night for their eighth consecutive victory.
After finishing 29-31 in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, the Giants turned the game around in year two from manager Gabe Kapler. They have the best record in baseball (94-50) with 18 r games remaining - guaranteeing them at least one wild card as they try to fend off rival Dodgers for the NL West title.
“It's a pretty focused and balanced team,” said Kapler, who won a World Series ring as a player with the Boston Red Sox in 2004. “You've got quite a few World Series champions in the game. this room andpeople who understand that this is a step in the direction we want to go, but not the ultimate goal. "
San Francisco extended their last hot streak by getting some power at the start of the home and a steady pitch from the bullpen after opener Dominic Leone pitched two strong innings.
Tommy La Stella scored on the fourth pitch from the starter of Padres Yu Darvish and Evan Longoria hit a three-point drive five batters later. Mike Yastrzemski added a solo shot in the fourth, when Belt also went deep as San Francisco secured a playoff berth for the first time since 2016.
This one was unexpected for a team that won the World Series in 2010, 2012 and 2014.
"It took us maybe half the season to get national recognition, but now we understand that we have a goal in the back, "said Longoria. "It doesn't get any easier from here. "
All four homers came from Darvish (8-10), struggling in his debut season with the Padres after starting 6- 1. The five-time All-Star lasted four innings, allowing eight runs and six hits.
San Diego lost a game behind Cincinnati in slow motion for the NL's second wild card.
"The story of the night we beat early on with the long ball," said Padres manager Jayce Tingler. “(Darvish) just didn't have overall command. Didn't have the finish of what he usually has with the slider and the cutter. On the health side, he's doing well. "
After the final, the Giants hugged each other on the pitch and the coaches did the same in the dugout before heading to the club- house for a bubbly celebration.
This is the first date the franchise has ever won a playoff trip.
"Like most years we won it or went to the playoffs, I don't think most people believed we would be in that position," Belt said. "It 's quite satisfying to come back here after a while and not be very good. People kept improving.
The Padres scored on back-to-back doubles from Trent Grisham and Jarlin Garcia's Fernando Tatis Jr. in the third.
Zack Littell (3-0) struck out five hitters for the win. Jose Álvarez, Camilo Doval and Kervin Castro called and combined for four scoreless innings.
Eric Hosmer and Wil Myers each had two hits for San Diego.
Padres: RHP Chris Paddack was placed on the 10-day injured list with inflammation of the coude right, an injury he apparently made worse while playing wrestling before the match. It's a big blow to the rotation, as Blake Snell receives treatment for groin tightness that limited him to 11 shots against the Dodgers on Sunday. RHP Shaun Anderson has been recalled from Triple-A El Paso to fill the Paddack spot.
Giants: LHP Jose Quintana has been reinstated from the paternity list. OF Mauricio Dubon has been optioned for Triple-A Sacramento.
RHP Jake Arrieta (5-12, 7.04 ERA) makes his third start for the Padres since signing as a minor league free agent on August 16. Arrieta allowed three runs in five innings in his last outing against the Astros.
RHP Giants Anthony DeSclafani (11-6, 3.33) is winless in his previous four starts and has allowed six earned runs to the in the last 14 innings 2/3.