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.

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