SAN FRANCISCO—Buster Posey could exhale at last, his teammates knowing better than to dog pile on their 34-year-old catcher celebrating a wild, 4 1/2-hour game that put San Francisco atop the NL West.
“They know they need to be careful with me,” Posey cracked.
Second baseman Trea Turner threw wildly on Posey’s bases-loaded, two-out grounder in the 11th inning and a lengthy video review upheld the safe call as the Giants beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 on Sept. 3 to grab first place.
“From my vantage point it looked like he was off. I knew it was really close,” Posey said. “I was hoping that it held up on replay.”
The rivals began the night tied for the division lead. The Giants nearly won in the ninth, but Posey missed a defensive play on the bases and the Dodgers rallied to tie it at 1.
After both teams scored in the 10th, San Francisco loaded the bases in the 11th against Evan Phillips (1-1), the Dodgers’ 11th pitcher.
Posey hit a grounder to Turner, who had plenty of time but zipped a throw that pulled first baseman Will Smith off the bag — normally a catcher, Smith had never played the position in college or as a pro before entering in the 10th.
Smith desperately tried to reach back to tag first base as Posey crossed and Brandon Belt raced home from third. With fans chanting ‘”Safe! Safe!” and players on both sides watching and waiting, the safe call was confirmed.
“It was a little bit higher throw, I was stretched out fully for it, I thought I kept my foot on, umpire thought otherwise, then went back and looked at replay,” Smith said. “It’s pretty close, couldn’t overturn it I guess.”
Jarlin García (6-3) earned the win.
San Francisco (86-49) holds a one-game lead over LA (85-50) after the rivals came into the opener of this key weekend series tied for the division lead in September for the first time since Sept. 18, 1997.
The Giants took a 1-0 lead into the ninth, but Justin Turner singled and took third on Corey Seager’s one-out double.
Smith then hit a grounder to second baseman Thairo Estada, who fired home to Posey. The All-Star catcher chased Turner back to third, where Seager was already standing. Posey tagged both of them, and umpire Nestor Ceja signaled Seager out.
Seager and Turner then both wandered off the bag. Posey went to tag Seager again, while Turner scrambled back to the bag. Chris Taylor followed with a single to make it 1-all.
“I messed that up. In my mind Seager, was standing on the bag so I had him occupying the bag,” Posey said. “Running Turner back, I thought that he was the one that was going to be out, but obviously the rule states that Turner gets to occupy that bag and then the back runner is the one that’s out.”
Trea Turner hit a sacrifice fly in the 10th that scored pinch-runner Walker Buehler for a 2-1 lead. Brandon Crawford hit a tying single in the bottom half.
Anthony DeSclafani gave the Giants six scoreless innings with five strikeouts and confidently shut down one of baseball’s most potent lineups.
“We fought. I thought we did a great job preventing runs,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “Our pitchers made pitches. Offensively we just really didn’t threaten, really couldn’t get anything going against DeSclafani.”
LA left-hander David Price was scratched from his scheduled start because of an unspecified arm injury.
Corey Knebel was called into action to replace Price as Los Angeles made it a bullpen game — and was it ever. The Dodgers had already used six of their 11 pitchers through five innings. Still, no roster moves were planned to bring in fresh arms, Roberts said.
Austin Slater’s RBI single in the third held for much of the night for the Giants.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles lefty Julio Urías (15-3, 3.17 ERA), having a career season for the Dodgers, looks to win his third straight start and seventh consecutive decision dating to a loss at San Diego on June 21.
By Janie McCauley