Down to the wire: Giants top Padres to win NL West

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A half-dozen Giants players gathered around general manager Brian Sabean, pinned him in a clubhouse corner and doused him in beer and champagne.

San Francisco has Sabean to thank for all the creative retooling he did to his roster throughout this season _ some of it risky _ to make the Giants a playoff team again.

Jonathan Sanchez pitched the Giants back into the postseason after a six-year absence and also provided a clutch hit, beating the San Diego Padres 3-0 on Sunday to win the NL West.

“I told myself, `This is my last start and I’m going to win this game,’” Sanchez said.

Buster Posey homered and the Giants got it done _ on their third try against the Padres this weekend _ to capture their first division crown and playoff berth since 2003.

San Francisco will host the wild card-winning Atlanta Braves starting Thursday at AT&T Park, with ace Tim Lincecum well rested for Game 1. The Braves beat the Phillies 8-7 earlier in the day, extending manager Bobby Cox’s farewell season.

Giants first baseman Aubrey Huff and second baseman Freddy Sanchez are a pair of playoff first-timers, 20 years in the majors between them.

“Words can’t describe it,” Freddy Sanchez said. “This is what I’ve played for ever since I was a little kid.”

Two NL playoff races came down to Game No. 162.

San Diego missed a chance to force a Monday playoff with the Giants at Petco Park to decide the NL West winner. The loser of that game would have flown to Atlanta to determine the wild card had there been a three-way tie.

After mobbing each other on the mound, the Giants took a victory lap along the outfield warning track, slapping hands with fans leaning over the fence. Manager Bruce Bochy brought up the rear of the lap, repeatedly tipping his cap and waving.

“It’s a group that coalesced into a team that wants to get there,” Bochy said.

The pitching-rich Padres head home for a longer winter than they wanted knowing they blew quite an opportunity. San Diego led the division by 6 1/2 games before a 10-game losing streak from Aug. 26 to Sept. 5.

But manager Bud Black’s team had trouble scoring all season, and that was its undoing at the end. The Padres managed only four hits Sunday and were shut out for the 12th time.

“Anyone who goes through this has a good sense of what’s going on,” Black said. “Reality sets in and you know we didn’t make it. But we still had a great season.”

Story Continues →

View Entire Story

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Get Adobe Flash player
You Might Also Like
  • Argentina's Maxi Rodriguez, left, celebrates with goalkeeper Sergio Romero after scoring the decisive goal during the World Cup semifinal soccer match between the Netherlands and Argentina at the Itaquerao Stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Wednesday, July 9, 2014. Argentina beat the Netherlands 4-2 in a penalty shootout to reach the World Cup final. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

    Argentina beats Dutch in shootout to reach World Cup final

  • Washington Redskins safety Tanard Jackson speaks during a media availability after an NFL football training camp practice at Redskins Park, Friday, Aug. 3, 2012 in Ashburn, Va. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

    Tanard Jackson suspended indefinitely by NFL — again

  • Washington Wizards forward Otto Porter Jr. (22) looks to pass in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat, Monday, April 14, 2014, in Washington. The Wizards won 114-93. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

    Wizards’ Otto Porter, Glen Rice Jr. hoping for big splash on small stage

  • Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) is surrounded by fans that rushed the field and security as he is escorted off the field following their 45-38 win over Oklahoma in an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

    SNYDER: RG3 worth his weight in bronze to Baylor

  • Baltimore Orioles' Manny Machado (13), celebrates his two-run homer with Adam Jones left, with Nick Markakis, at right, during the 11th inning of an interleague baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park, Monday, July 7, 2014, in Washington. The Orioles won 8-2, in 11 innings. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

    Accidental rivalry: Nats-Orioles doesn’t have much edge

  • Celebrities In The News
  • (Image from DeAngelo Williams' Facebook post)

    NFL star likely fooled by Marine impostor who accepted first-class plane ticket

  • ** FILE ** In this Oct. 1, 2013, file photo actor George Clooney attends the premiere of "Gravity" at the AMC Lincoln Square Theaters, in New York. George Clooney has chastised a British newspaper over an article claiming his fiancee's mother disapproves of the impending marriage for religious reasons. Clooney said that the claims about his future mother-in-law Baria Alamuddin were untrue and irresponsible. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

    Website apologizes for Clooney mother-in-law story

  • Kim Kardashian arrives at the NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment 2014 Upfront at the Javits Center on Thursday, May 15, 2014, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

    Kim Kardashian visits Jersey shore