SAN FRANCISCO — The scoreboard was directly in front of Bruce Bochy, who took up his normal spot on the dugout rail, leaning and directing and gesturing at calls he disagreed with. He had promised to check in on the Cardinals periodically, but it turned out it wasn’t needed.
By the time the Cardinals and Pirates got going in St. Louis, the party was already raging at AT&T Park. The Giants scored two runs in the first and three more in the second, rushing away with a 7-1 win over the Dodgers that clinched the final National League postseason spot.
This even year will continue in New York, with Madison Bumgarner locking horns with Mets ace Noah Syndergaard. The game’s hardest-throwing starter, a man nicknamed Thor, will face the game’s best clutch pitcher Wednesday. The winner will go on to meet the Cubs.
Bochy told his players to pack for a long week and the possibility of playing in Chicago next weekend. He also told them to take care of business themselves, and Matt Moore took that message to heart. The midseason addition allowed just three hits over eight innings. He got plenty of run support.
Denard Span led off the afternoon with a single and Brandon Belt hit a double to the track. Buster Posey’s liner dropped inches inside the line in right, scoring a pair. The Giants kept pounding Kenta Maeda in the second, with Span hitting a two-run triple and Posey driving in a fifth run with a single.
Conor Gillaspie kept the sellout crowd roaring with a spectacular catch in the third. Gillaspie leaned out over the camera well to snag a Chase Utley pop-up, tumbling over the railing as he completed the catch.
The Dodgers have seen enough of the Cardinals in October, so the early results probably didn’t bother them all that much. Still, they came close to chopping away nearly the entire deficit. Three singles put a run across in the fourth, and Joc Pederson hit a high fly ball to deep center that stopped hearts. Span made a catch at the warning track, with Pederson coming just a couple feet short of a three-run blast.
That seemed to be the last gasp, as Dave Roberts started pulling regulars and preparing for the NLDS. A steady stream of random relievers took the air out of the Giants’ offense, but Moore was game. He retired 12 straight after Pederson’s close call, with his 107th pitch getting a soft grounder to first that ended the eighth. Moore walked off to a lengthy standing ovation on a day when 41,445 repeatedly stood and cheered Vin Scully.
Span and Hunter Pence and Brandon Crawford teamed up for a couple of insurance runs in the ninth, setting the stage for Sergio Romo. As the Cardinals reached double-digit runs, Romo closed it out.