Saturday afternoon, the San Francisco Giants were two outs away from seeing their NL West lead shrink to a half-game over the rival Los Angeles Dodgers. The division race has not been that close since July 6. Instead, LaMonte Wade Jr. pinch-hit against Athletics closer Lou Trivino and hit one of the biggest home runs of the season for the upstart Giants.
Wade's pinch-hit two-run home run turned a 5-4 deficit into a 6-5 lead, and San Francisco held on to win by the same score (box score). The Dodgers beat the Mets just a few minutes earlier (LA 4, NY 3) to extend their winning streak to nine games. San Francisco's division lead remains 1 1/2 games. Here is Wade's home run:
The Giants now have 13 pinch-hit home runs this season, by far the most in baseball. No other team has more than eight. Wade came over from the Twins in a minor offseason trade and the outfielder/first baseman been a godsend for San Francisco. Saturday's homer was his 16th of the year and it raised his season batting line to .251/.324/.530.
Los Angeles has won nine straight games while the Giants are "merely" 6-3 in their last nine games. The Giants had a five-game lead as recently as last Friday. Now it's down to 1 1/2 games, and it would have been a half-game if not for Wade's heroics. San Francisco has been in first place since May 31.
At 79-54, the Giants have the best record in baseball. It is their best record through 133 games since 2003 (80-53), and with three more wins, they will clinch their first winning season since 2016. The Giants and Dodgers have just one head-to-head series remaining (Sept. 3-5 in San Francisco).