GIANTS 91-70 ... The issue may not be settled today.
San Diego 90-71 1 GB
Giants lost again to San Diego, 4-2.
The series finale at AT&T Park; 1:05 PM PDT (4:05 EDT). Jonathan Sanchez against Mat Latos.
Another sellout crowd expecting a pennant-clinching victory went home disappointed. Once again the Giants took themselves out of the game early, and once again it was starting pitching that failed to do the job. Barry Zito walked four men in the three innings he pitched, but the die was cast in the top of the first when he walked in two runs. The Giants pieced together single runs in the seventh and ninth after falling behind 4-0, but we wouldn't exactly call those "rallies." They managed only three hits off rookie starter Tim Stauffer through seven, and three more off closer Heath Bell in the ninth, but by then Bell was trading bases for outs, and he won that trade with room to spare. The game ended on one of the Giants' league-leading ground-ball double plays.
Obviously the Giants still hold the whip hand in this series. Though they have lost 12 of 17 to San Diego this year, a win today negates all that and earns San Francisco their seventh NL West title. However, if the Atlanta Braves lose again at home to Philadelphia, the Giants will make the playoffs regardless. A loss would then leave them as the NL wild-card, opening at Philadelphia next week. Things only get complicated if the Braves win. One possibility is a three-way tie, which would necessitate two elimination playoffs as we noted yesterday. The Giants might conceivably travel from San Francisco, to San Diego, to Atlanta, and thence to Philadelphia, in four days. Though the score from Atlanta will be posted and perhaps complete by the time the Giants take the field today, it'd be best if Our Boys simply went out and beat these guys one more time.