With chances of making the postseason long gone out the window for the San Francisco Giants and the NL West all but locked up for the Los Angeles Dodgers, the defending World Series champion knew they didn’t want to watch their rival clinch this weekend.
Mission accomplished. The Giants took three out of four games from the Dodgers in Los Angeles this weekend and staved off the inevitable. The Dodgers will win the division — it’s just a matter of time — but the Giants hoped they wouldn’t be watching them celebrate from the opposite dugout. Thanks to an unbelievable series from outfielder Hunter Pence, they won’t have to.
In the four game series, Pence hit five home runs and drove in 12 runs. Had the Dodgers won the first three games of the series against San Francisco, they would have had a shot to wrap it up in front of the home crowd on Sunday. Pence had a different agenda. He almost single-handedly prevented the Dodgers from clinching the West in front of the Giants.
While taking three out of four from the Dodgers doesn’t do anything for the team’s playoff standing, they do wonders for the team’s confidence. The Dodgers leapfrogged the Giants in the West standings in tremendous fashion with a remarkable run through the summer. No team enjoys resorting to playing the role of spoiler as its primary goal, but when it’s against a rival like the Dodgers, San Francisco has to feel semi-accomplished.
Thanks to the heroics of Pence, who should be overwhelmingly named the NL Player of the Month for September, the Giants didn’t have to play witness to a Dodger celebration. They successfully adapted to their role of spoiler — and then some; they made history in the process. Their 19-3 win on Saturday marked the most runs any team has scored at Dodger Stadium.
At the end of nine innings on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, you could hear a pin drop at Chavez Ravine. There was no confetti, no champagne; no smiles — except for Pence and those dressed in black and orange.