Padres watch as Giants celebrate NL West title
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Bud Black had witnessed this very scene two years ago, only on the season's final day with his team still playing for something.
For the second time in three years, San Diego watched from the visiting dugout as the San Francisco Giants celebrated an NL West title. As difficult as it might have been, Black was glad to see several of the Padres' younger players lingering behind to take it all in as the rivals reveled following an 8-4 victory on Saturday night.
"All of our young players who witnessed this game tonight will be better off for it," Black said. "We have some guys who have been in that position but a lot of guys haven't. It'll be good for them. They'll learn from it."
Losing pitcher Andrew Werner was among the players to stay put in the dugout, arms draped over the railing as the Giants danced and celebrated near the mound before taking a victory lap around AT&T Park.
The rookie left-hander allowed five runs in 3 2-3 innings, the shortest outing of his young career.
"That's what you want to do, you want to be that team that's storming the field," Werner said. "You see that and it hurts, it hurts bad. I'm a little sick to my stomach watching it."
Madison Bumgarner pitched San Francisco to its second NL West title in three years and newcomer Marco Scutaro had three hits and three RBIs to help the Giants capture their eighth divisional crown.
Rookie first baseman Yonder Alonso provided one of the few highlights for San Diego with a two-run homer in the sixth inning. He was another player who remained outside afterward.
"Just to see what it was like, knowing that one day we're going to be there," Alonso said. "We're going to be in that situation. You have to be positive, you have to know that we have a good team and we're going to be there. We're definitely going to be there."
The Giants clinched once again with a victory over the Padres in front of their home fans, a similar story to the season's final day in 2010 on the way to an improbable World Series championship.
Brandon Belt homered leading off the eighth to give the sellout crowd of 42,418 one more thing to stand and cheer about in a season full of such moments.
The real party began after Sergio Romo retired Mark Kotsay on a fly ball to center to end it. Fireworks shot off behind the main center-field scoreboard as the players rushed to the mound and began bouncing up and down.
The Giants pulled on gray NL West champion shirts and white caps, then took their lap, slapping high-fives with any fans they could reach.
This time, San Francisco didn't leave it to the last day — there are 10 games to go.
"I'll take this one," said manager Bruce Bochy, who left the Padres to manage in Northern California. "I like a margin of error."
Buster Posey and Hunter Pence each hit a sacrifice fly in the first and Bumgarner tacked on an RBI single in the second. Pence singled twice as the Giants won their season-high sixth straight game and moved 26 games above .500 (89-63), the club's best record since finishing the 2003 season 39 games over.
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