Giants' surge maintains Wild Card standing

Giants' surge maintains Wild Card standing

SAN FRANCISCO -- The emotionally charged atmosphere at AT&T Park on Friday night resembled that of a postseason game, which it essentially was for the San Francisco Giants.

Forced into must-win mode by victories for the Mets and Cardinals, the teams surrounding San Francisco in the National League Wild Card race, the Giants stunned the Los Angeles Dodgers with seven runs in the sixth inning, including three on Brandon Belt's home run, and proceeded to a 9-3 triumph.

The Giants (85-75), with Madison Bumgarner pitching 7 1/3 solid innings for his 100th career victory, maintained tentative control of the NL's second Wild Card berth. The Mets (86-74) lead the Wild Card standings, one game ahead of the Giants and two up on St. Louis (84-76).

The Giants can clinch a Wild Card berth Saturday if they win and St. Louis loses.

"We're on a mission right now," said Giants left fielder Angel Pagan, who made his most solid contact when he body-slammed a fan who invaded the field in the fourth inning and smothered him until the proper authorities arrived.

Belt's three-run jack

The loss left the Dodgers two games behind the Nationals for the home-field advantage in the NL Division Series with two games to play. If the Dodgers win both remaining games and the Nationals lose both remaining games, the Dodgers would open at home because they hold the tiebreaker after beating Washington in the season series, 5-1.

The Dodgers scored twice off Bumgarner in the first inning and took a 3-2 lead in the top of the sixth before the seven-run bottom half, which included Conor Gillaspie's go-ahead, two-run double and Bumgarner's two-run double.

"Madison is like our guy," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said, comparing him to his ace, Clayton Kershaw. "Even when doesn't have his best stuff, he finds a way to go deep into games. You always have your hands full with him."

Rich Hill, the Dodgers' Game 2 starter in the postseason, allowed two runs in five innings. Six of the seven runs in the sixth inning came off Brandon McCarthy, trying to make the first postseason roster in his career as a reliever, in this game coming out of the bullpen for the first time since 2007.

"I do feel for Brandon," said Roberts.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Settling in: Initially, Bumgarner didn't appear destined to stay for long, as the Dodgers' two instant runs indicated. But after yielding Carlos Ruiz's RBI single, Bumgarner retired 13 of 15 hitters, escaped a bases-loaded, two-out jam in the sixth and cruised through a perfect seventh. He improved to 14-9 lifetime against Los Angeles while becoming the third-youngest pitcher in franchise history (27 years, 60 days) to reach 100 wins.

"It's special for me to get the opportunity to do that, but there's a lot more at stake right now," Bumgarner said, regarding the century plateau.

Said Giants manager Bruce Bochy, "He's going to get a lot more wins. This guy's special. He's as good a competitor as I've ever seen."

Bumgarner shows versatility

Not timid: The Dodgers came out running aggressively in the first inning. Justin Turner was thrown out by center fielder Gorkys Hernandez trying to go first to third on Corey Seager's one-out single. On the next play, Seager was waved home by third-base coach Chris Woodward to score from first base with a head-first slide on Yasiel Puig's two-out double to left. Woodward also sent home catcher Ruiz with a tiebreaking run on Kiké Hernandez's single to left in the sixth inning. And Hernandez misjudged an off-target throw from shortstop Brandon Crawford and was tagged out at second base.

"We did some things uncharacteristic on the basepaths, but more on the aggressive side," said Roberts. "I'd rather that than being passive."

Statcast: Puig's RBI double

Unwelcome visitors: A pair of fans jumped onto the field and interrupted play in the top of the fourth inning. One of them eluded security guards, though he ultimately was brought down with help from the Giants. Catcher Buster Posey stiff-armed him to the dirt before Pagan grabbed him, flung him to the left-field grass and held him until assistance arrived.

Players tend to be extremely wary of such trespassers because, as Bumgarner said, "You don't know what guys have or don't have, so you have to do what you have to do to protect yourself."

Said Pagan, "I'm not trying to harm anyone. I'm just trying to help."

It was OK to look at him: After striking out Posey in the fifth inning when the game was close, Hill celebrated a little too much for Posey's liking, and the batter had words with Ruiz.

"I was just fired up. It was a big strikeout at that point in the game, and it was nothing towards him," said Hill. "Just a little intensity and emotion came out. Just the moment. I'm sure he would understand that as well."

Hill fans Posey

WHAT'S NEXT
Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw makes his final tuneup for the postseason when he starts Saturday against the Giants in the 1:05 p.m. PT game. Kershaw threw seven innings in his last start and he won't start again until Game 1 of the National League Division Series in six days. He is 1-1 with a 0.86 ERA since returning from the disabled list Sept. 9 and is 18-7 against the Giants.

Giants: Rookie left-hander Ty Blach will start for the club Saturday at 1:05 p.m. PT. Blach made his first Major League start last Sunday, allowing two earned runs on four hits in three innings.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001.

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.