LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Giants won the National League West after dipping into their arsenal of tricks throughout the season.
This glass slipper, which was to burst in the playoffs, would be thrown out by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
But in a stadium so quiet you could hear a World Series reign coming to an end, the Giants’ magic carpet ride flew through the windy skies, defeating the Dodgers, 1-0, in front of 52,299 subdued fans, and taking a 2-to-1-game lead in the best-of-five NL Division Series.
Only three hits for the Giants, none from the fifth inning. Max Scherzer, who utterly dominated them in the fifth, managed the Giants’ only hit. They still had the last laugh.
Just one victory is all it takes for the Giants in order to make their return to the National League Championship Series. This will be the Giants’ first win since the 2014 World Series.
It was hard to believe that the Giants could win a record-breaking 107 regular season games. They would then go back to the old-school route and bring the Candlestick park weather down to Chavez Ravine.
WEATHER FACTORScherzer stumbled off the mound by the strong wind?
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At times, there were wind gusts up to 15-20 mph throughout the game. Hot-dog wrappers were blowing in outfield. Long fly balls headed for the seats that had been pushed to the ground.
The game was ended fittingly when Gavin Lux’s ninth-inning two-out drive looked set to tie it, but it died on the warning track.
The only one who managed to defy the wind was 36-year-old Evan Longoria, who drove Scherzer’s 96-mph through the wind gusts in the fifth inning, into the left-field seats.
This was Scherzer’s only mistake of the night.
The Giants had not produced another hit until that point.
It was a story that the Giants could tell.
In his 13 first starts with the Dodgers, Scherzer was defeated by the Giants. This streak is the longest since Whitey Ford’s time in the Yankees in 1950-53 when he won 23 of his starts.
“We made this acquisition for him to be an ace, a stopper,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “When he takes the baseball, you expect to win and for him to prevent runs.”
Still, you don’t expect a 37-year-old to go to the mound and impersonate Don Drysdale. Since 1956 World Series, Sal Maglie (the Dodgers’ first pitcher), he was the Dodgers oldest pitcher who struck out 10 batters. In the postseason, he was the only pitcher to have struck out more than 10 batters in a game with at least three teams. He did this with both the Washington Nationals and the Detroit Tigers.
It was the first time Scherzer had faced the Giants in a postseason game since Game 4 of the 2012 World Series when he pitched for the Detroit Tigers, giving up three hits over 6 ⅓ innings in a loss.
Nine years later, the Giants re-signed him with just one swing from Longoria.
“You have to execute every pitch that you throw because if you make mistakes against this team,’’ Scherzer said, his voice trailing off. “They led the league in homers for a reason. So obviously they can take it deep if you make a mistake.’’
The Dodgers are now one game away from elimination, something the Dodgers can’t stand to even contemplate. The focus of the game is not Game 4.
Roberts stated, “Just win tomorrow.” Everything’s on the line and we have to focus our attention to tomorrow. If that happens, then we will pick up the pieces.
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