If the Giants are going to end the Dodgers’ three-year run atop the National League West, their best route to get it done seems obvious: Beat the teams in the division.
The Giants played .500 against the NL West last season and finished eight games behind their archrivals from Los Angeles.
This season, the Giants have been better — much, much better.
They continued to high-step through the West on Sunday night with a 2-1 over the Dodgers at AT&T Park as Jake Peavy pitched six scoreless innings and Brandon Belt slugged a two-run homer.
The Giants won two of three from the Dodgers this weekend to extend their division lead to five games over Los Angeles.
The march to the top of the West is all in the numbers. The Giants have won 19 of their past 23 games against teams in the division and are 24-13 against the West overall.
The Dodgers are 14-14 within the division, a big step back from their 46-30 record against the West last season.
The Giants were three outs from watching their lead over Los Angeles sliced to two games Saturday. But Poster Posey’s walk-off in the 10th inning extended the lead to four games, and Peavy, Belt and Co. kept the momentum going Sunday.
Peavy, who entered the game with a 6.41 ERA, scattered four hits and a walk as he held an opponent scoreless for the second time in his past three starts. The veteran pitched seven scoreless innings against the Braves in Atlanta on May 31.
Belt provided all the offense the Giants needed Sunday when he smashed an 84-mph slider from Julio Urias – the Dodgers’ 19-year-old rookie – over the wall in right for a 2-0 lead in the sixth.
Joc Pederson cut the Giants’ lead in half in the seventh as the former Palo Alto High star sent a Hunter Strickland pitch into McCovey Cove. The blast was measured at 403 feet.
But the Giants bullpen – manager Bruce Bochy used six relievers for the final nine outs – held on as San Francisco prevented the Dodgers from winning their first series at AT&T Park since September 2014.
Defense kept the Giants from falling behind early Sunday.
After Chase Utley opened the game with a single to right, Justin Turner followed two batters later with a rocket to left. But Mac Williamson charged hard to his right, soared through the air like a superhero and made a diving catch, robbing Turner of extra bases and the Dodgers from grabbing a quick lead.
Peavy, coming off a rough outing in St. Louis, cruised through the next three innings before running into choppy terrain in the fifth. Pederson’s single to center and Howie Kendrick’s walk gave the Dodgers another scoring opportunity. But Peavy got AJ Ellis to hit into a double play to squelch the threat.
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