Giants miss chance to clinch NL West, fall to Padres in 10th

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Kevin Gausman

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Kevin Gausman (34) acknowledges the cheers of the crowd as he’s removed for a reliever at the start of the eighth inning of a baseball game, Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/D. Ross Cameron)

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The San Francisco Giants missed a chance to clinch the NL West, falling to the San Diego Padres 3-2 when Jake Cronenworth hit an RBI double in the 10th inning Saturday.

A sellout crowd of 40,760 was ready to celebrate San Francisco’s first division crown since 2012, but the Padres spoiled the party, sending the raucous group to the exits in a state of disbelief.

“Obviously, we wanted to win the game and not have to rely on somebody else,” Giants third baseman Evan Longoria said. “I think right now, the focus turns to tomorrow and just doing what we’ve done the whole year, trying to erase the day before and go out there and win the next game.”

The Giants’ seven-game winning streak ended, and the NL West race was pushed to the final day when the Dodgers beat Milwaukee 8-3 later Saturday. The Giants’ magic number remained at one. If Los Angeles wins Sunday and San Francisco loses, the teams will play a Game 163 on Monday to determine a division champ.

“We’re expecting to play a meaningful game tomorrow,” manager Gabe Kapler said before LA played. “Obviously, we’ll pay attention to the Milwaukee-Los Angeles game, but we’re expecting that tomorrow’s game is going to be the one that we need to win.”

With runners on the corners and two outs in the top of the 10th, Cronenworth lined a double to right off Jarlin García to give San Diego its first lead of the game.

Mark Melancon retired the Giants in order in the bottom half to earn his major league-leading 39th save of the season. Tim Hill (6-6) got the win.

Manny Machado drove in two runs for the Padres, who snapped a seven-game losing streak amid rumors that manager Jayce Tingler might be managing his final games with the franchise.

“Look, I hear the same things you hear, but at the same time, trying to be present, trying to manage,” Tingler said. “I feel bad for the noise for the guys but really proud of the way that they’ve been busting it. They deserved the win today. They went out and played well.

“(General manager) A.J. (Preller) and I have been talking, we’ll talk postgame, we’ll talk tomorrow morning. Look, I don’t have social media, I do have a phone and I get a lot of texts, so look, I get it. At the same time, I try to live what I practice, preach, with the guys, trying to eliminate noise,” he said.

Kris Bryant singled home Brandon Crawford in the second inning to give San Francisco an early 1-0 lead.

The Padres tied it at 1 in the sixth on an RBI single by Machado, but the Giants immediately regained the lead in the bottom half on Austin Slater’s 12th home run, a pinch-hit blast.

San Diego tied it at 2 in the eighth on a sacrifice fly by Machado.

Kervin Castro (1-1) was charged with the loss for San Francisco.

PINCH-HIT RECORD

Slater’s drive marked the Giants’ 18th pinch-hit homer of the season, setting an MLB record. It was Slater’s fourth pinch-hit home run of the year, tying the franchise record.

FOR STARTERS

Giants starter Kevin Gausman fanned five in seven stellar innings, allowing just one run on six hits. San Diego’s Joe Musgrove gave up one run on three hits in five innings, striking out four.

“Obviously, we would’ve liked to punch our ticket today and kind of do it ourselves,” Gausman said. “It’s unfortunate we lost today but, you know, we’ll win tomorrow.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Padres: RHP Yu Darvish is optimistic about his offseason recovery from a left hip impingement that landed him on the 10-day injured list Thursday. “I don’t think it’s that bad,” Darvish said through an interpreter. “Moving forward, it will be some rest, and after that, it will be some rehab. I’ll be doing that once we hit the offseason with the guys in the training room.”

Giants: Closer Jake McGee (right oblique strain) was reinstated from the 10-day IL. The left-hander has recorded 31 saves in 36 opportunities this season.

ROSTER MOVES

Padres: Optioned RHP Pedro Avila to Triple-A El Paso and recalled RHP James Norwood.

Giants: Optioned INF Thairo Estrada to Triple-A Sacramento.

UP NEXT

Giants RHP Logan Webb (10-3, 2.93 ERA) looks for his 10th straight win in Sunday’s regular-season finale. The Padres will counter with RHP Reiss Knehr (1-1, 4.85).

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