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Giants return to Oracle for final playoff push after rout of A’s

San Francisco Chronicle logo San Francisco Chronicle 9/21/2020 By Henry Schulman

A guy who was 21 and playing in the low minors on the other side of the country the last time the Giants reached the postseason wanted to provide a history lesson for those who doubted they had a shot in 2020, even with 16 teams getting in.

“Come on now,” rookie catcher Chadwick Tromp said. “It’s an even year.”

It might be the oddest even year, with no fans, a 60-game schedule and more than half the teams getting into the playoffs. Those who choose to pooh-pooh the entire exercise have every right.

But everyone else, including the clubhouse, understands the Giants are about to embark on a week’s adventure that all teams desire, especially one that remains in the working stages of an arduous rebuild.

After Sunday’s power-fueled 14-2 rout of the A’s in Oakland, which included a Brandon Crawford grand slam, the Giants are coming home for the final week to play eight games, four each against the Rockies and Padres, in the thick of a wild-card race that is living up to its moniker.

The Phillies (27-26) hold the No. 7 seed, a half game ahead of three .500 teams. The Giants and Brewers are 26-26, the Reds 27-27.

Cincinnati momentarily holds the edge for the final playoff spot because it has the best intradivision record, the tiebreaker. The Giants have the worst record against their own division among the eighth-spot contenders, at 15-17, but because they play their final eight against the West, their overall and intradivison records are hitched.

Another important set of numbers: 16-9, their record at Oracle Park. They have played well at home, so the schedule breaks in a good way as they make a final push that manager Gabe Kapler seems to relish in his first year in San Francisco.

“I think it’s worth calling out that very few expected us to be in this position,” Kapler said. “We had realistic expectations, but we believe in ourselves as a group.

“It’s a really exciting time.”

The Giants will ride a tailwind into the final week after they scored 14 runs Sunday following two A’s shutouts. The Giants averted the first season-series sweep by either team since interleague play began in 1997.

Tromp hit a two-run homer off Mike Minor in the third inning to break the team’s scoreless streak at 22 innings. Darin Ruf hit another two-run homer off Minor an inning later and Crawford gave the Giants an 8-0 lead in the sixth with his first-pitch grand slam off J.B. Wendelken, the fifth of Crawford’s career if you include the 2014 wild-card game in Pittsburgh.

Ruf had four RBIs. Luis Basabe drove in his first big-league run.

Crawford had a chance in the seventh to become the first Giant to hit two grand slams in a game, but struck out.

While the offense laid waste to A’s pitching, Tyler Anderson more than atoned for his third-inning ejection against the Mariners on Thursday by throwing five shutout innings before Jake Lamb’s two-out single in the sixth scored two unearned runs.

Kapler said Anderson “unquestionably” pitched with extra purpose after he let down the team three days earlier, which the lefty did not dispute.

“I feel like I owed it to the bullpen and our guys to give us some innings today,” he said.

Anderson will get another start over a final week that has a lot of Giants pumped, including Tromp. He chose to sign here as a minor-league free agent merely thinking that rebuilding San Francisco offered his best shot to reach the majors for the first time. Now, he could see the playoffs, too.

“We’re going home right now with our spirits high,” he said. “We have 100% confidence we’re going to make this happen.”

Henry Schulman covers the Giants for The San Francisco Chronicle. Email: hschulman@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @hankschulman

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