19 hits put Giants on top

Af­ter a pregame hit­ters only meet­ing they use an of­fen­sive ex­plo­sion to beat the Cubs, 13-0.

Los Angeles Times - - Baseball - Kevin Bax­ter

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.

kevin.bax­ter@latimes.com

Jerry Lai

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.

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