In Part 1 I showcased the top 5 moments at AT&T Park during the Bonds era. Go ahead, click it. Or maybe, just read this one first and click it afterward. Your decision. No pressure dear reader.
I really toyed with the idea of calling this one “Timmy’s Era”. I settled on Bochy because it all happened under his watch. Yes, the last moment in Part 1 was after Bochy took over as manager, but this didn’t truly become his team until Bonds departed. We all know that I feel Timmy was the key to turning this franchise around, but none of it happens without Bochy. So I bring you, the best moments at AT&T Park under Bochy.
Honorable mention here to the Jonathan Sanchez no-hitter. The story with his dad attending one of his Major League starts for the first time makes it even better. It may be because I personally didn’t see the game so it didn’t have a huge impact on me. Every time I think about that no-hitter I picture Nuke LaLoosh’s father up on a ladder with a camcorder in Bull Durham. I may have just discredited myself, I’m not sure.
october 3, 2010 – Giants Clinch NL West
Here’s where Jonathan Sanchez gets his love. The Giants could have won the division with a victory over the Padres either of the previous two days. But no, this was the year “Torture” came to be. The Giants saved it all up for one memorable final game of the season. To add to the excitement, self-proclaimed Giants hater Mat Latos got the nod for San Diego. Sanchez kept it interesting pitching in and out of trouble during his 5 innings. But it was his bat that made this so memorable.
With one out in the bottom of the 3rd of a scoreless game, Jonathan Sanchez sent AT&T Park on its ear. On the first pitch he saw from Latos he stroked a triple out to the alley in right center field. The whole team seemed to ignite. Well, ignite in that 2010 sort of way. Andres Torres struck out to make it 2 outs. Freddy Sanchez came to the rescue with a single up the middle to score J. Sanchez. Aubrey Huff followed that with a double to deep center to score Freddy and the Giants had what they needed. For good measure, Buster Posey got in to the act with a solo home run leading off the 8th inning to extend it to the final of 3-0. Brian Wilson got the last 3 outs and the Giants were NL West champions.
Game 1 2010 NLDS vs. Braves – Lincecum’s Masterpiece
How do you follow-up the Giants clinching on the last day of the season? Well Tim Lincecum had an answer, and it was brilliant. That would be 9 innings, 2 hits, 1 walk, no runs, and 14 strikeouts brilliant. All night long the feeling at AT&T Park was electric. You watch that video up there. The fans were on their feet for just about every strike out. They had to be, the Giants only scored 1 run for Lincecum on a Cody Ross base hit in the 4th inning.
This was what Giants fans had dreamed of when Timmy was making his ascension to Rock Star status. We had seen it for 2 CY Young seasons, but now it counted. Lincecum showed he was ready for the big stage. My favorite part of this game was the postgame interview. Lincecum admitted he was kind of shocked the game had ended because of how locked in he was. This moment, this game, started the Giants on that road to the first World Series championship since 1954.
June 13, 2012 –Matt Cain
Every Giants fan remembers where they were on that Wednesday night in June. It may be the greatest regular season moment to happen at AT&T Park. Matt Cain has been with the Giants since 2005, the longest tenured player on the team. We’d seen him get beat because of no run support while pitching great so many times it even has a name. Cain’d. So when “The Horse” finally got all that support on a night where he was on, it all came together.
Matt Cain always had no hit stuff, but no one expected perfection. There are moments throughout this game. There was a foul ball during a 10 pitch at bat by Jordan Schaefer that was close to fair. In the 7th inning it was again Schaefer at the plate. His ball to deep right center field gave Gregor Blanco a chance to make the play of the game. His diving catch is burned in the minds of many Giants fans. The game ended on a ground out to Joaquin Arias at 3rd. The Giants mobbed Cain and his wife came on down for the interview. It was a great moment for a beloved son of San Francisco, and proved to be a peek ahead for what the Giants had in store in 2012.
Game 7 2012 NLCS – Broken Bats and Rain
Even if it didn’t take a tremendous comeback just to force this game, this would be one for the books. But improbably, the Giants had forced a Game 7 after falling behind the Cardinals 3 games to 1. Matt Cain got the ball for the Giants in what proved to be the 2nd of his 3 clinching starts in that year’s playoffs. The Giants jumped ahead early with single runs in the 1st and 2nd innings. In the 3rd, the whole game went haywire, in a good way. Hunter Pence came to plate with the bases loaded in the bottom of the third.
We learned later that Pence names each of his bats and this one was called “Fryer”. On the first pitch that Pence saw from Joe Kelly he hit a ball to the gap in left center field that seemed to curve. Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma actually moved one way before seeing the ball curve back. All 3 runs scored and the Giants were in charge with a 5-0 lead. “Fryer” unfortunately did not make it. On replay we saw that the bat broke and that Pence had actually hit the ball 3 different times. No wonder it curved. They added a few more along the way for a final of 9-0. The everlasting moment is of Marco Scutaro basking in the rain as the Giants were on the verge of clinching another trip to the World Series
Game 1 2012 World Series – Panda’s 3 HR’s
The big bad Tigers came to town to face the Giants for the 2012 World Series. Pretty much everyone picked the Giants to lose this series. There was talk of how Justin Verlander would shut them down. Pablo Sandoval wasn’t havin’ it. In his first at bat he crushed an 0-2 high fastball from Verlander over the wall for an early 1-0 Giants lead. In the third, again with 2 outs, Sandoval got to Verlander. This time he hit an opposite field 2 run home run. It gave the Giants a 3-0 lead and sparked the Verlander “wow” face.
In the 5th Verlander was already out of the game. Al Albuquerque had the task of stopping Sandoval and couldn’t do it. On a low 1-1 pitch Pablo drove it over the wall for his 3rd HR. He tied Babe Ruth (twice), Reggie Jackson, and Albert Pujols as the only men to accomplish the feat. The Giants won the game, and went on to sweep the Tigers for the trophy. For one night at AT&T Park though, the whole world was Pablo Sandoval’s.
If you haven’t already, check out Part 1 – The Bonds Era.
Thanks so much for reading, and again share your favorites, or ones I may have missed, in the comments below.