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Giants control their own destiny, can win NL West Saturday originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
SAN FRANCISCO -- There have been hundreds of Orange Fridays at Oracle Park over the last couple of decades, but Friday night's experience was a unique one.
The Giants came to the ballpark knowing they needed one win and one Dodgers loss to clinch the NL West title, and for a while, it was looking good. They took care of business, jumping out to a lead in the first inning and cruising to a 3-0 win over the Padres. Down at Dodger Stadium, the second-place team in the division fell behind 5-1 and watched Clayton Kershaw go down with a potentially serious elbow injury, but they stormed back on Trea Turner's grand slam and beat the Brewers to keep pace.
There were "Beat L.A." chants in the seats at Oracle Park when things were looking good, and audible groans coming from fans when Turner's ball cleared the wall. Thousands stayed to watch as the Giants put the Dodgers-Brewers game on the scoreboard after their game ended, but as the Dodgers started to pull away, it was just a few hundred scattered fans left in the seats.
The scene at Oracle Park, where the rest of Dodgers-Brewers will be shown on the scoreboard: pic.twitter.com/JqrddU5M27
— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) October 2, 2021
It was a fascinating night, but not in the home dugout. The Giants kept chugging along. They kept track of what was going on at Dodger Stadium but didn't really pay too much attention. Sure, it might be annoying that they're still playing for the division after winning 106 games, but it's not as annoying as being in second with 104 wins.
"They're probably more frustrated with us because we're ahead and we keep winning," said Anthony DeSclafani, who pitched five shutout innings. "We've just got to take care of our business and we can control our destiny. Just try to keep winning, that's it."
The Giants will send Kevin Gausman to the mound Saturday in search of the clinching victory. If they can pull it off, they'll get to rest some veterans on Sunday and start lining their rotation up for the NLDS, but nobody wanted to think about that after the 3-0 win, their seventh straight.
Manager Gabe Kapler said he was aware of what was happening in Los Angeles, but he didn't waste much energy thinking about the permutations.
"It's cool and fun, but again, it's a soft focus on what's happening in Los Angeles with the Brewers and the Dodgers and a sharp focus on the work that we have to do," he said.
The Giants already have accomplished more than just about any team in franchise history. They tied a franchise record with 106 wins, and afterward, they retreated to the clubhouse, watching Kenley Jansen close out the Brewers as they ate their dinner and got treatment. If there was any disappointment that there was no clinch on Friday night, it didn't show.
"Tomorrow will be treated as just like any other day," LaMonte Wade Jr. said. "We'll come out and get our routines in and get our advance meetings and we'll come out and play to win the game. Nothing changes. We'll focus on what we've got to do. We're just keeping our heads down, staying focused, and living in the moment."