Tagged in: division title

Giants hold NL West lead, top Rockies; Belt’s hand injured

The San Francisco Giants moved closer to a division title with a clutch victory. Now they hope their home run leader can be help them capture the crown.

Brandon Crawford homered to cap a four-run ninth inning and the Giants held their lead in the NL West, defeating the Colorado Rockies 6-2 on Sunday but lost first baseman Brandon Belt to a hand injury.

The Giants, who have won 15 of 19, have a two-game lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers, who defeated Arizona 3-0 on Sunday. San Francisco now heads home to Oracle Park with a chance to clinch their first division title since 2012.

Belt left the game in the seventh inning after getting hit on the left hand with a pitch while squaring to bunt. Giants manager Gabe Kapler said a scan was inconclusive and Belt will get X-rays back in San Francisco. “It’s not time to reflect on us losing Brandon Belt,” Kapler said. “We’re just not there yet.”

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Crawford was optimistic Belt wouldn’t be out long.

“It’s scary when it’s a fastball or a hard pitch either close to his hand or on his hands,” he said. “There are so many little bones that can break. From talking to him, he seems like he should be all right, not miss too much time.”

San Francisco had to work for its sixth consecutive win at Coors Field, and its 102nd victory overall — its most since winning 103 in 1993.

It was 2-all when reliever Daniel Bard (7-8) walked Steven Duggar and Wilmer Flores, and pinch-hitter Tommy La Stella lined an RBI single with one out.

Rockies manager Bud Black turned to Tyler Kinley to keep it close instead of allowing Bard to face Crawford.

“Bardo’s been out there a little bit the last five days and you could tell he wasn’t hitting his spots,” he said. “The walk to Duggar and the base hit to La Stella, I thought Kinley would give us a better chance against Crawford.”

Crawford spoiled the strategy with his 23rd of the season.

“Craw’s been good in those moments all season long. No surprise,” Kapler said. “He got a pitch he could drive.”

Camilo Doval (5-1) pitched the eighth inning for the win.

San Francisco starter Kevin Gausman struck out 11 in six innings but was left with a no-decision when Colorado tied it in the seventh.

Gausman retired 13 straight after Garrett Hampson’s single to lead off the first inning. C.J. Cron ended the streak with his 28th homer with one out in the fifth that cut San Francisco’s lead to 2-1.

Gausman, who entered Sunday with a 5.33 ERA in five September starts, said he made a mechanical adjustment that helped him.

“For me today was a big step forward. I could just tell from the get-go that I was my normal self and back to when I was going good,” he said. “That confidence just came back and I felt like I could throw any pitch when I needed to.”

Giants reliever Zack Littell committed a balk in the seventh to put runners on second and third. Cron, who led off with a single, scored on a grounder when he beat the throw home from second baseman Donovan Solano that tied it at 2.

San Francisco scored its first run on a groundout in the second inning and added another in the fifth. Belt reached on a bloop double with two outs and scored on Kris Bryant’s single.

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Los Angeles Dodgers clinch NL’s top seed, 8th straight division title

Wrapping up an NL West title has become routine for the Los Angeles Dodgers, but in a year in which no one was sure three months ago if there would be a baseball season, manager Dave Roberts wanted his team to savor the moment.

The Dodgers clinched the NL’s top postseason seed and eighth consecutive division title with a 7-2 triumph over the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday. They are the third team to win at least eight consecutive division titles, joining the Atlanta Braves (14 straight from 1991 to 2005) and New York Yankees (nine straight from 1998 to 2006).

“To fast-forward a couple months and be crowned NL West champs is a credit to everyone. It should never be taken for granted,” Roberts said.

“Truth be told, a lot of guys didn’t know we could clinch. We were responsible, but I let it know that it has to be appreciated.”

The Dodgers, who own the best record in the majors at 39-16, were the first team in baseball to clinch a playoff berth on Sept. 16. They will open postseason play on Sept. 30 by hosting every match in a best-of-three series versus the No. 8 seed.

Los Angeles came into the day with a magic number of two and got help with the Angels’ 4-2 triumph over the San Diego Padres. Instead of a wild celebration on the mound after Jake McGee struck out Sean Murphy for the final out, players briskly walked out of the dugout to celebrate with teammates.

Everyone grabbed a division clinching shirt and cap before heading to the mound for a group photo.

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The clubhouse celebration was also muted.

Champagne was involved, but it was players toasting one another with a glass instead of being showered in it.

“We talked about it — instead of dumping stuff on people. It’s a moment you need to celebrate, and we did,” said Corey Seager, who had three hits and one of Los Angeles’ four home runs Tuesday. “It stinks not being able to do champagne and beer showers because some of the younger guys haven’t been able to experience that.”

Max Muncy, Chris Taylor and A.J. Pollock also went deep for Los Angeles, which leads the majors with 104 home runs.

“This whole year has been weird. There’s no other way to describe it,” Muncy said. “It’s sad not to be celebrate as usual, but we know there is a lot more at stake.”

Dustin May went five innings and permitted two runs on three hits. The 22-year-old righty set a team record by not allowing more than three earned runs in any of his first 13 career starts, which includes 10 this season.

Seager tied it 1-1 in the first with an RBI single and led off the fifth with a drive to center off T.J. McFarland to extend L.A.’s lead to 6-2.

Muncy gave the Dodgers a 3-2 lead in the third inning with a two-run homer. Taylor and Pollock extended it with solo shots in the fourth off Oakland starter Frankie Montas.

Cody Bellinger added two hits for the Dodgers, including an RBI single with the bases loaded in the seventh.

Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner was scratched from the lineup less than an hour before first pitch because of left hamstring discomfort. He came off the injured list on Sept. 15 and has not played in the field since Aug. 28.

Joc Pederson was in the lineup at DH after missing five games while on the family emergency medical list. Roberts said before the game that he wasn’t sure if Pederson will stay with the team for the entire postseason.

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