19 hits put Giants on top
After a pregame hitters only meeting they use an offensive explosion to beat the Cubs, 13-0.
It’s only taken 5½ months, but it looks as if the San Francisco Giants have finally found their bats. And if they keep using them like they did in Thursday’s 13-0 pasting of the Chicago Cubs, the National League West race is pretty much over.
With Juan Uribe driving in six runs with a pair of second-inning homers, the Giants moved back atop the division standings by half a game over the San Diego Padres, 3-1-losers to the Dodgers.
The Padres also trail idle Atlanta by half a game in the wildcard standings. Colorado, which stranded the tying run at second base in the ninth inning of its 10-9 loss to Arizona on Thursday, is 3½ games back in both the division and wild-card races.
The Giants awoke with a season-high 19 hits following a pregame hitters-only meeting, a meeting that ended with Pablo Sandoval being held out of the starting lineup.
“We came out with the right approach today,” catcher Buster Posey, who also homered, told reporters. “There was a little bit more fire in everybody.”
The Giants, who begin their final road series of the season Friday in Colorado, entered Thursday hitting .215 and averaging three runs a game in September. But by the third inning they had scored more runs Thursday than in their previous five games combined.
Despite the offensive slumber, the Giants have managed to win 13 of their 20 games this month thanks to a pitching staff that has a baseball-best 1.47 ERA and five shutouts in September.
And since San Francisco has scored fewer than two runs in its last six losses — twice dropping 1-0 decisions — even a little offensive improvement figures to give the team an edge in the division race.
“Hopefully that’s something we can continue,” Posey said. “If we give this staff some run support, we’re going to be pretty tough.”
Meanwhile, in the last suspenseful American League race, seven sixth-inning runs helped David Price and Tampa Bay rally to a 10-3 win over CC Sabathia and the Yankees, giving the Rays a split of the teams’ four-game series in New York.
That’s big because although the Yankees enter the season’s penultimate weekend with a half-game lead over Tampa in the East Division standings, Thursday’s victory clinched the season series for Rays, the first tiebreaker should the teams finish the regular season with the same record.
That’s not likely to happen, however, because Tampa Bay plays its final 10 games against Seattle, Baltimore and Kansas City while the Yankees close out their schedule against Boston and Toronto.
LOOKING GOOD: Juan Uribe watches his two-run homer leave the park in the second inning of Giants’ victory over the Cubs. He later hit a grand slam in the same inning. The Giants had 19 hits.