Giants beat Padres, win NL West title on season’s final day

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SAN FRANCISCO — The San Francisco Giants finally won the NL West without needing to wait for the rival Dodgers’ result on the season’s final day, pounding the San Diego Padres 11-4 on Sunday for a franchise-record 107th victory to top the 1904 New York team.

Logan Webb did it all in leading surprising San Francisco to its first division crown since 2012, delighting a delirious, deafening crowd of 36,901. Buster Posey had an incredible day, too.

Posey raised both arms into the air when Eric Hosmer struck out swinging to end it, and ran out to the mound to hug reliever Dominic Leone.

“The first thing that comes to mind for me is how proud I am of this group and what they accomplished,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler told fans from the field. “Part of the reason that I feel that way is because I think we all knew at the beginning of the season, or even dating back to the beginning of spring training, what the projections are and what the industry sort of thought of us as a club. What I realized is there are some intangibles that those projections and viewpoints failed to take into consideration.”

Webb walked off to a roaring standing ovation when replaced in the eighth after allowing three straight singles. He struck out eight and didn’t walk a batter while pitching seven-plus stellar innings, and also hit a two-run homer in the fifth to clear the fences for his first time in his career – a pretty line drive to left.

Posey drove in three runs on a pair of singles and got his 1,500th career hit as San Francisco’s division hopes came down to the final day. The Giants clinched the title in Game 162 after losing 3-2 in 10 innings a day earlier as Los Angeles won at night against NL Central champion Milwaukee.

The Giants will host the winner of Wednesday night’s wild-card game between the Dodgers and Cardinals in Game 1 of an NL Division Series on Friday at Oracle Park.

San Francisco wanted to earn it this way to dethrone the reigning World Series champion Dodgers, who could have forced a Monday tiebreaker with a win and a Giants loss. The Dodgers had won the last eight NL West titles since the Giants last did so nine years ago.

San Francisco held baseball’s best record for 125 days and won on the last day of the regular season for the first time since 2017.

“This group always thought we were going to win the game. Always,” Kapler said.

Manny Machado briefly made things interesting with a sacrifice fly in the fourth against Webb, who went unbeaten since May 5 at Colorado. He finished 10-0 after that loss but was coming off three straight no-decisions since beating the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Sept. 12.

There were so many big hits to back the right-hander’s latest gem. Mike Yastrzemski‘s two-run double in the seventh made it 11-1.

Webb walked to load the bases with one out in the fourth and Tommy La Stella followed with an RBI single before Wilmer Flores singled in two more runs.

This one brought on some Oct. 3 memories for the storied franchise, now determined to create some more in October like the 2010, ’12 and ’14 World Series champions with some of the same faces of today in Posey, Brandon Crawford and injured slugger Brandon Belt.

Webb delivered just as Jonathan Sanchez did pitching the Giants past the Padres on the final day in 2010 to advance the club to its first playoff appearance in six years.

Or you could even go way back to Bobby Thomson’s Shot Heard ‘Round the World as Willie Mays and the New York Giants beat Brooklyn 5-4 to clinch the 1951 pennant before eventually losing the World Series.

These 2021 Giants completed a stunning turnaround in manager Gabe Kapler’s second season from a club that finished 29-31 for third place in the division during the coronavirus-shortened 2020 season.

Los Angeles and these Padres, after all, were the hands-down favorites to win the division when the season began six months ago.

Instead, this might have been Jayce Tingler’s final game managing disappointing San Diego (79-83), which had high hopes of contending behind stars Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr. The Padres lost eight of their final nine and finished below .500 for the 10th time in 11 years – they were 37-23 last year – after losing 13 of their last 15.

Padres starter Reiss Knehr (1-2) worked three innings in his 12th major league appearance and fifth career start.


Giants: Posey’s durability down the stretch has been quite a physical feat. He started behind the plate for the fifth time in six games. While he pinch hit Saturday, Posey caught a full game Sunday for the 10th time over the final 13 games – remarkable at age 34 in his 12th major league season.


Longtime Giants coach Ron Wotus, who is retiring after 24 years, caught a ceremonial first pitch from his grand-nephew and was honored with a video tribute before the bottom of the fourth. He came out to coach third and tipped his cap as fans gave him a warm standing ovation.

Astros star Altuve has surgery on broken thumb, a WBC injury

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Houston Astros star Jose Altuve had surgery Wednesday on his broken right thumb, an injury that occurred in the World Baseball Classic and will significantly delay the second baseman’s 2023 debut.

The Astros announced that the 32-year-old Altuve had the procedure done in Houston and will stay there to begin his rehabilitation, with only one week left in spring training. The Astros will fly there on Sunday following their final Grapefruit League game in Florida, before playing a pair of exhibitions against their Triple-A team, the Sugar Land Space Cowboys, in Texas.

Altuve was hit by a pitch on Saturday while playing for Venezuela in the WBC. He might not be ready to return to the lineup until at least late May. The eight-time All-Star and 2017 American League MVP batted .300 with 103 runs, 28 homers and 18 steals for the World Series champion Astros last season. Mauricio Dubón and David Hensley are the leading candidates to fill in for Altuve at second base.

Altuve isn’t the only Major League Baseball star who was hurt in WBC play, of course. Mets closer Edwin Díaz will miss the 2023 season because of a torn patellar tendon in his right knee as the freak result of an on-field celebration following a WBC win by the Puerto Rico national team.


The Astros also scratched right-hander Hunter Brown from his scheduled start Wednesday against the Mets in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

Manager Dusty Baker told reporters that Brown, who is ranked by MLB as the organization’s top prospect and competing for the last spot in the rotation, has discomfort in his lower back.


The New York Mets sent catcher Francisco Álvarez to Triple-A Syracuse, quashing for now the possibility of putting the prized 21-year-old on the opening day roster.

Álvarez, who made his major league debut with the Mets near the end of last season, had just three hits in 28 at-bats in Grapefruit League exhibition games. Ranked by MLB as the third-best prospect in baseball, Álvarez batted .260 with 27 homers and 78 RBIs in a combined 112 minor league games in 2022 at Double-A and Triple-A.

The Mets have newcomer Omar Narváez, a 2021 All-Star with the Milwaukee Brewers, as their primary catcher with Tomás Nido likely to play mostly against left-handed pitchers.

Speaking of the Mets, Díaz turned 29 on Wednesday – a rather subdued milestone for the right-hander considering his situation. Diaz nonetheless posted in Spanish an upbeat message on his Twitter account, thanking God for another year of life and describing his health as good and his outlook as positive in this initial stage of the roughly eight-month rehabilitation process.