AT&T PARK — It may not have mattered in terms of a postseason berth, but Thursday night’s game was significant to the Giants.
It took the Giants a few singles and a squeeze in the bottom of the seventh to earn back a 9-8 lead after the San Diego Padres cranked two home runs and notched five runs in the top half to go ahead 8-6.
Though the Milwaukee Brewers’ 5-3 loss to the Cincinnati Reds Thursday afternoon was the clinching factor, the Giants made a statement of imposition to cap their wild card spot.
After the win, Giants players circled around Hunter Pence, who screamed a expletive-fueled speech before being enveloped in a waterfall of champagne:
Pence spoke about the complexion of the team afterward:
“Guess what boys? We’re going to the fucking dance. …We’ve had fucking big injuries, we’ve had fucking all sorts of shit, ups, downs, but we’re fucking here.”
“There’s a lot of champions in this clubhouse. We know what happens in the playoffs, but there’s a couple of us that are going to be new to it…It’s a new year, a new team. Let the dogs go at it.”
The Brandons made the most noise offensively.
Brandon Belt hit his first home run since Aug. 3 in the second, just clearing the sidewalk into McCovey Cove to make it 2-0. The homer was Belt’s 12th of the season, the 68th splash hit at AT&T Park and the stadium’s 1,000th home run overall.
Belt, drenched in a plastic-lined locker room, had enough stamina to clearly define the road ahead:
“Goals: getting to the playoffs, winning a World Series. We’ve done the first part of that. Now we got to win a few more games. That’s where our focus is right now.”
The winning run was scored on a Matt Duffy squeeze bunt in the seventh that plated Pence to make it 9-8.
Joe Panik talked about the back-and-forth game with a smile draped across his face:
“We gave up the lead and then we came right back. It just shows the grit of this club. That’s what we pride ourselves on.”
The other Brandon, Brandon Crawford, homered atop Levi’s Landing in the fourth to make it 5-0. The long ball was Crawford’s 10th on the year.
Yusmeiro Petit had another solid start at home, going 5-1/3 with eight strikeouts and a no-decision. He’s 3-2 with a 3.34 ERA (16 ER, 43-1/3 IP) in seven starts at AT&T Park this season.
Tim Lincecum (W, 11-9, 4.80 ERA) made a brief relief appearance and wound up with the win after two pitches and a line out to Panik ended the tumultuous seventh.
Blaine Boyer (L, 0-1, 3.63 ERA) was the culprit behind the Giants’ three seventh-inning runs and took the loss.
Giants closer Santiago Casilla closed the game for his 18th save of the season.
The Giants will go on to play a one-game playoff against the other wild card team, either the Pittsburgh Pirates (87-72) or the St. Louis Cardinals (88-71) depending on who wins the NL Central in the next three games.
Home field advantage for the one-game playoff will be determined by which wild card team has the better record wit the Giants holding the tiebreaker over the Cardinals, but not the Pirates.
The winner of the game will play the National League team with the best record in the NLDS, currently the Washington Nationals (93-65) , but could be the Los Angeles Dodgers (91-68) before the season ends.
Thursday night’s victory was Lincecum’s 100th career win. … Brandon Crawford’s 10 home runs are the most by a Giants shortstop since Juan Uribe hit 19 in 2010. … The Giants have won 11 of their last 13 home games.