SAN FRANCISCO — After a dramatic wild card game that featured a walk-off two-run home run from left fielder Chris Taylor, the National League West champion Giants will meet the Dodgers in the playoffs for the first time ever.
Taylor, who entered the game as a defensive replacement for Los Angeles left fielder A.J. Pollock, crushed a home run off Alex Reyes in the bottom of the ninth inning to lead Los Angeles to a 3-1 win over a St. Louis Cardinals team that secured the National League’s second wild card playoff spot by winning 17 games in a row in September.
The Giants and Dodgers met at the end of the 1951 and 1962 seasons for three-game tie breakers to determine the winner of the National League pennant, but those series were considered part of the regular season.
Game 1 of the NLDS will begin at 6:37 p.m. on Friday at Oracle Park with Game 2 set for 6:07 p.m. on Saturday.
The teams will spend Sunday traveling back to Los Angeles before playing Game 3 on Monday.
Giants manager Gabe Kapler announced Wednesday that 24-year-old Logan Webb, who earned the win in the team’s season finale against the Padres, will start Game 1 of the NLDS. All-Star right-hander Kevin Gausman will follow Webb and start Game 2 and both pitchers will be available to pitch for San Francisco if the series goes to a winner-take-all Game 5.
Right-hander Walker Buehler is expected to start Game 1 of the NLDS for the Dodgers and face the Giants for the seventh time this year.
The Giants were the first team in the majors to clinch a playoff berth, but the last division champion to hold off a second-place finisher as their 11-4 win in Sunday’s regular season finale against the Padres allowed San Francisco to avoid a potential Game 163 on Monday against the Dodgers.
The Giants’ 107 regular season wins set a new franchise record, besting the previous mark of 106 held by the 1904 New York Giants. The 2021 club also set records for homers (241) and pinch-hit homers (18). The pinch-hit home run mark established a new major league record as Austin Slater’s solo home run against Padres lefty Ross Detwiler in the sixth inning of Saturday’s game helped the Giants surpass the previous high set by the 2016 Cardinals.
The Dodgers’ 106 wins tied their franchise record, but Los Angeles was forced to play in the NL wild card game after finishing 1.0-game behind the Giants in the division.
The Giants and Dodgers played 19 head-to-head matchups this year as Kapler’s club won the season series 10-to-9. In their final game against one another on September 5, the Giants scored six runs in 3.0-plus innings against Buehler in a 6-4 San Francisco win.
In Buehler’s previous five starts against the Giants this season, the right-hander had given up a combined three earned runs.