SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The surprising San Francisco Giants became the first team to clinch a playoff spot this season, hitting four home runs to beat the San Diego Padres 9-1 on Monday night for their season-high eighth consecutive victory.
After finishing 29-31 during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, the Giants have turned things around in manager Gabe Kapler's second year. They have the best record in baseball at 94-50 with 18 games remaining, guaranteeing them at least a wild card as they try to hold off the rival Dodgers for the NL West title.
Tommy La Stella, Evan Longoria, Mike Yastrzemski and Brandon Belt homered as San Francisco secured a postseason berth for the first time since 2016.
Fernando Tatis Jr. doubled home Trent Grisham in the third inning to account for the Friars' lone score.
Starter Yu Darvish lasted only 4 innings, giving up eight earned runs -- including all four Giant home runs.
The Padres have lost four straight games and are 8-20 over their last 28 games.
Entering Tuesday's schedule of games, San Diego and the St. Louis Cardinals are both a half-game behind the Cincinnati Reds for the second National League Wild Card spot.