© John Hefti | 2021 Sep 14
Buster Posey, whose only responsibilities in the series-opener Monday included celebrating his team’s playoff berth, homered in the first inning and scored in the third to lead the Giants to a 6-1victory over the Padres on Tuesday.
San Francisco (95-50) has now won nine straight games and improved to 11-2 in September.
The Giants’ nine consecutive victories marks the longest winning streak since 2004. That year, Posey started two games as a pitcher for the US junior national team. Gabe Kapler was en route to breaking an 86-year Curse as an outfielder with the Boston Red Sox. Anthony DeSclafani, Tuesday’s starter, was 14 years old — just starting high school.
Since 2004, the Giants have celebrated three World Series parades, employed three managers and have played in the same ballpark under four different names.
This current run has shown the resilience and consistency of the 2021 team. Six of the nine contests came on the road. Through it all, SF has shown a focus and even mindset (even while picking up a new captain).
The streak began Sept. 7, when San Francisco’s brigade of relievers outdueled Cy Young Award contender Walker Buehler in the Dodgers series finale. Then it continued in Denver, where the Giants’ flight arrived at 1:30. They could have ridden the high of the Dodgers series victory and faltered in Coors Field, but instead they rallied to sweep the Rockies by putting up over seven runs each contest. Another emotional test awaited at Wrigley Field, where Kris Bryant returned for the first time, but the Giants handled business there too.
Monday, the Giants became the first MLB team to clinch a playoff berth with a 9-1 thrashing of the Padres. And Tuesday, the undefeated streak ballooned to nine.
It started when Posey belted his first inning homer — the 18th of his 12th season. The longest-tenured Giant’s bomb was one of the most unique swings of his career, as he turned on a 1-2 sinker about a foot inside. Had Posey not swung, the pitch likely would’ve hopped to the backstop. Instead, Posey sent it 390 feet for a solo home run into the left field bleachers.
Buster Posey's HR was on a pitch 1.37 ft from the center of the plate
– The furthest inside pitch any Giants RHB has homered off in the pitch-tracking era (since 2008)
– Tied for furthest inside pitch ANY Giant has HRed off in span, w/a Pablo Sandoval LH HR on 9/19/12 pic.twitter.com/SV5Mjk3tKH
— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) September 15, 2021
Posey (2-for-5, 2 runs, 1 RBI) reached base again in the third inning with a single off Padres starter Jake Arrieta’s glove, then later scored on an Arrieta throwing error. That walk-in run put SF up 2-1, as SD outfielder Jurickson Profar scored in the top half of the third after leading off with a double.
San Francisco tacked on a run in the fourth and another in the seventh, as the Padres’ lineup went cold. Brandon Belt’s RBI double in the eighth made it 5-1 — in the four games since appointing himself captain, Belt is 7-for-16 (.438) with 3 home runs and 8 RBI. After stopping at second, he curled his hand into a “C” form and tapped it on his chest.
Belt later scored on a Manny Machado throwing error, giving the Giants six runs — something they’ve done every game during the winning streak. SF is the first team since the 2017 Astros to score at least six times in nine straight games. According to The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly, it’s the first Giants team to reach such a hot streak since 1929.
These surging Giants also may have caught the Padres at the perfect time. While holding onto the Wild Card race for dear life, San Diego entered the Giants series after getting swept by the Dodgers. Over that weekend, they lost infielder Jake Cronenworth and pitcher Blake Snell to injuries.
The team with so much power and so much swagger had stopped hitting; they were shut out in three of their previous five games before scoring one run in both the Giants series-opener and in Tuesday night’s loss. Over the last four weeks, the Padres have the worst batting average in MLB.
DeSclafani kept the sputtering Padres in the yard and ultimately minimized them to just one run on three hits in 6.2 innings of work. The veteran’s slider played well on the outside of the zone, as he earned his second quality start in his last three outings. The three hits SD recorded off DeSclafani were their only base knocks of the night.
The Giants and Padres are two clubs trending in opposite directions at the most important juncture of the regular season. San Francisco’s ninth straight win gave San Diego its fifth straight defeat.
The team projected to compete with the Dodgers for the NL West is slipping, as the Giants roll through September.