San Francisco Giants
1958: Fans packed Seals Stadium from the first day of big-league ball on the West Coast. On April 15th, in that historic opener, Ruben Gomez shut out the Los Angeles Dodgers, 8-0, and rookie first baseman Orlando Cepeda hit a home run in his second Major League at-bat. Cepeda, “the Baby Bull,” went on to win Rookie of the Year honors and overshadowed the astounding Willie Mays, whom many Bay Area fans viewed as New York’s star, and not their own. Although the Giants finished 12 games out, and in third place, they still tallied a respectable 80-74 record. More importantly, they beat the transplanted Dodgers 16-out-of-22 times, keeping alive a 75-year-old rivalry.
1959: Willie McCovey goes 4-for-4 in his Major League debut en-route to Rookie of the Year honors, as the Giants finished third in a three-way race for the National League Pennant with an 83-71 record.
1960: On April 12th, the Giants first took the field at Candlestick Park. On hand to christen the new stadium was Vice President Richard Nixon, who threw out the first pitch, and Hall of Famer Ty Cobb. Nixon declared it “the finest ballpark in America.” However, it was quickly discovered that Cobb was wrong. Night games at Candlestick would become an adventure, as temperatures routinely were in the 40s, with wind chill factor, even in July and August. As it turns out, San Francisco officials knew of the weather problems at Candlestick point but took Giants owner Horace Stoneham out to the site early in the morning when the sun was warm, and the winds were calm. Stoneham felt the location was perfect, and the stadium was built. The Giants would finish in fifth place with a 79-75 record in their first year at “the stick.”
1961: Just one year after opening their new ballpark at Candlestick Point, the Giants played host to the first All-Star Game of 1961. It was the third year of a four year experiment in which Major League Baseball played two All-Star Games each season. In the ninth inning, Stu Miller of the Giants would become a legendary part of Candlestick lore. Miller was in the stretch position because men were on base, when suddenly a gust of wind came and caused him to lose his balance, and balk called by the umpires. The game would go on to extra innings where Willie Mays would score the winning run. The Giants would go on to finish the season in third place with an 85-69 record.
1962: The Giants staged a remarkable comeback after being four games out of first place with seven games remaining to pull into a tie with the Los Angeles Dodgers. With identical records of 101-61, the rivals met in a best-of-three playoff series. Jimmy Pierce blanked the Dodgers in Game 1 while Willie Mays drilled two clouts to provide for an 8-0 romp at Candlestick Park. Los Angeles returned home for the second game and plated seven runs in the sixth inning and won 8-7. The Giants found themselves trailing 4-2 in the top of the ninth inning in Game 3. However, the Giants would come back, as 3B Jim Davenport drew a walk with the bases loaded to cap a four-run rally that gave San Francisco a 6-4 victory in the decisive game at Los Angeles, earning a ticket to the World Series against the Yankees. The World Series against the New York Yankees would prove to be a classic seven-game series complete with a dramatic ending. After the Yanks took the opener, Jack Sanford tossed a three-hitter, shutting down the Yankees, 2-0. Game 3 was scoreless until the bottom of the seventh inning when the Yanks put up a three spot. After the Yanks took Game 3 in Yankee Stadium, the Giants would tie the series up again in Game 4 thanks to stellar pitching from Juan Marichal, and Chuck Hiller’s Grand Slam. Game 5 was tied 2-2 until the Yankees Tom Tresh hit a three-run home run to put the Giants on the brink. The series returned to San Francisco but was delayed four days by rain. Once play got back underway, the Giants didn’t disappoint, evening the series at three games apiece with a 5-2 victory behind Orlando Cepeda, who went 3-for-4 with 2 RBI. This would set up a classic Game 7 pitching duel between Jack Sanford and Ralph Terry of the Yankees. Close to 44,000 fans watched Terry and Sanford take part in an impressive pitching duel. The Yankees only run scored on a double-play grounder in the fifth inning. The Giants would not threaten until the ninth inning when they had runners on second and third with two outs. Ralph Terry had talked his manager into letting him facing Willie McCovey with the game on the line. A loud crack from McCovey’s bat brought the Giants fans to their feet, anticipating victory. Terry threw down his glove in disgust. It wasn’t until he turned around to see that Bobby Richardson had snagged the liner for the final out of the game did he know that the exciting series had come to an end in the Yankees’ favor. The Giants, meanwhile, were shocked and would have to live with just how close they came.
1963: On June 15th, Juan Marichal etched his name in the history books by pitching the only no-hitter of his career. He was the first player to spin a no-no in San Francisco, but the “Dominican Dandy” was also the first Latin Born player to do so in the Major Leagues. Three months later, another group of Dominicans made history for the Giants, as Jesus, Matty, and Felipe Alou comprised the first all-brother outfield in Major League history. The Giants would go on to finish the season in third place with an 88-74 record.
1964: With the collapse of the Philadelphia Phillies, the Giants are thrown into a pennant race in the final weeks of the season. However, the Giants had too much ground to overcome and finished in fourth place with a 90-72 record, only three games out of first place.
1965: Led by MVP Willie Mays, the Giants are in a tight race with Los Angeles Dodgers until the final week of the season. However, the Giants would fall two games short with a 92-70 record.
1966: The Giants battle the Los Angeles Dodgers again until the last week for the pennant and fall tantalizingly short with a 93-68 record.
1967: Lefty Mike McCormick wins the franchise’s first Cy Young Award as well as Comeback Player of the Year. Despite the stellar pitching of McCormick, Willie McCovey’s 31 homers, and 91 wins, the Giants finish ten and a half games behind the remarkable St. Louis Cardinals, who were led by former Giant Orlando Cepeda who won the MVP.
1968: While the team again settles for a runner-up finish with an 88-74 record, several Giants enjoy dramatic personal achievement, including Gaylord Perry’s no-hitter, Juan Marichal’s 26 wins, and Bobby Bonds’ brilliant debut.
1969: In the first year of divisional play, Willie McCovey wins the MVP Award, leading the league in home runs, RBI, and slugging percentage. However, the Giants finish in second place for the fifth year in a row, with a 90-72 record.
1970: Amid a third Place 86-76 season, Willie Mays hits his 600th career home run. He would end his career with 660 homers, which is good enough for third place on the all-time list at the time of retirement.
1971: In a year known as “The Year of the Fox.” manager Charlie Fox led a team of aging stars and rising youngsters to a Western Division title with a 90-72 record. The Giants got off to a fast start, winning 18 of their first 23 games. The energy and raw talents of youngsters like outfielders Bobby Bonds, Gary Matthews and Garry Maddox and shortstop Chris Speier melded nicely with the experience and wisdom of veterans Juan Marichal, Willie McCovey, and Willie Mays. Bonds smashed 33 home runs and 102 RBI. Meanwhile, pitching ace Marichal continued his domination over batters, notching 18 wins. In addition, Willie Mays, who was now 40-years old, slugged four home runs in his first four games. His production didn’t let up as he went on to set a National League career record for runs scored in June. Despite such steady play, the team began to wear down near the end of the season. They saw their nine-game lead on September 4th dwindle to one game by the 25th. It wasn’t until the final game of the season that the Giants clinched the Division title on Marichal’s 5-1 gem over the San Diego Padres. The Giants salivated at the chance to face the Pittsburgh Pirates in the best-of-five NLCS. They had beaten the Pirates 9-out-of-12-games and seemed likely candidates to win the pennant. The Giants jumped out of the gate full-steam ahead in the series opener, beating the Pirates, 5-4, in front of 40,977 fans at Candlestick Park. Willie McCovey and Tito Fuentes fueled the attack, ripping two-run homers in the fifth inning. However, the Giants wouldn’t lose the next three games, as the Pirates would advance to the World Series in four games.
1972: In a stunning move that ended an era, the Giants dealt Willie Mays to the New York Mets on May 11th for Charlie Williams and cash. Mays would hit a game-winning homer in his very first game against the Giants. The Giants would go on to finish the season in fifth place with a 69-86 record.
1973: Although the team finishes 11 games out of first place with an 88-74 record, three players win significant honors. Bobby Bonds, who misses becoming baseball’s first 40-40 man by one home run, is named The Sporting News’ Player of the Year, as southpaw Ron “Bear” Bryant is named Pitcher of the Year by “The Sporting News” after winning 24 games, the most ever by a San Francisco lefty. Meanwhile, OF Gary Matthews wins Rookie of the Year honors as one of three Giants to hit .300 or better.
1974: The Giants struggled all season as manager Charlie Fox is replaced by Wes Westrum in an awful 72-90 season in which the Giants finish in fifth place.
1975: After bidding farewell to stars Willie McCovey and Juan Marichal and mired in a string of sub .500 seasons, posting an 80-81 record. However, the Giants enjoy two refreshing pitching performances, John Montefusco’s colorful Rookie of the Year performance and Ed Halicki’s no-hitter.
1976: The Giants struggles continued to deepen, as they finish in fourth place with a 74-88 record, while there was talk of the Giants heading off to Toronto. Candlestick Park had been remodeled a few years earlier for the 49ers, and fans were still avoiding games, especially night games, because of the high winds and bitterly cold temperatures even in the summer. The Giants are only saved when they are purchased by Bob Lurie, who keeps the team in the city by the bay.
1977: Willie McCovey returns to the Giants and wins the Comeback Player of the Year Award with a team-best 28 home runs at the age of 39. Despite the return of McCovey, the losing ways continue with a fourth-place 75-87 season.
1978: Willie McCovey s hits his 500th career home run, as the Giants end a string of lousy season by finishing in third place with a solid 89-73 record.
1979: After a promising season, the Giants struggle all season finishing in fifth place with a disappointing record of 71-91.
1980: The Giants continue to struggle to finish in fifth place for the second straight season with a record of 75-86.
1981: Frank Robinson becomes the first black manager in the National League when he is named to head the Giants. The Giants would struggle before the strike and were well out of the playoff picture. After the strike, the Giants come within three and a half games of a second-half title, with a 29-23 record, helping them to finish with a 56-55 overall record.
1982: The Giants entered the final weekend of the series in a tight three-team race for the National League Western Division, with the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers. The hated Dodgers would eliminate the Giants on the next to last day of the season. However, the Giants would get a measure of revenge by eliminating the Dodgers the very next day thanks to a Homer Run by Joe Morgan, finishing with a record of 87-75.
1983: The Giants would slide back down the standing, finishing in fifth place with a disappointing record of 79-83.
1984: In a 66-96 season that would see the Giants crash into the Western Division’s cellar, Frank Robinson is fired, and replaced by Danny Ozark. In an attempt to get fans to go to games and stay for nine Innings, the team hands out pins to fans that stay and watch a complete nine-inning game at Candlestick Park that say, “I survived nine innings at the Stick.”
1985: Bad goes to worst as the Giants falter to the first 100-loss season in franchise history, at 62-100. Reliever Scott Garrelts leads the staff with a measly nine wins, as the team bats a league-worst .233.
1986: New Manager Roger Craig and GM Al Rosen begin a remarkable turnaround with their crew of “You Gotta Like These Kids” players. Rookies Will Clark and Robby Thompson jump over the Triple-A level to earn starting jobs. Clark gets off to a fast start by cracking a home run off Nolan Ryan in his first big-league at-bat. Pitcher Mike Krukow wins 20 games and earns an All-Star bid. The Giants would fold late, after challenging most of the season for the division, finishing in third place with an 83-79 record for a 21-game improvement over the previous year.
1987: Just two years after a wretched 100-loss season, the Giants would win 90 games and the Western Division thanks to late-season pitching acquisitions by General Manager Al Rosen. The Giants would go on to face the Cardinals in the NLCS. After losing Game 1, the Giants would bounce back to win Game 2 thanks to Dave Dravecky’s two-hit shutout. After losing Game 3, the Giants would bounce back again thanks in part to Jeffrey Leonard’s fourth home run in as many games. Each homer would see Leonard round the bases with one arm dragging by his side. He called it “one flap down,” and it proved only to anger Cardinals pitchers. The Giants would win Game 5 to head back to St. Louis, only needing one win for the first World Series birth in 25 years. In St. Louis, the Giants would be shut out twice and would fall in seven games. Despite losing the series the Jeffrey Leonard was named LCS MVP.
1988: The Giants suffer through an injury-plagued season, and finish in fourth place with a disappointing 83-79 record.
1989: On August 10th Dave Dravecky completes a miraculous recovery from surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from his pitching arm and defeats the Cincinnati Reds in front of a teary-eyed Candlestick crowd. However, in his next start, his arm snaps while delivering a pitch. He would not pitch again, and two years later, his arm was amputated after the cancer reappeared. The Giants would fare much better, taking the division with a 92-70 record, thanks to the bats of MVP Kevin Mitchell and Will Clark. The dynamic duo of Mitchell and Clark would finish 1-2 in the MVP voting. In the NLCS, the Giants crushed the overmatched Chicago Cubs in five games to earn their first World Series birth in 27 years. The Giants would move on to face the Oakland Athletics in what would be called the Bay bridge series in honor of the bridge that separated the two cities. The A’s would take the first two games in Oakland with ease, and the Giants looked forward to the first World Series game in Candlestick Park in 27 years. Fans all over the bay were waiting to see how the Giants would respond in the games played at home. However, that would all have to wait. ABC was just beginning their pre-game show a half-hour before the first pitch when at 5:04 pm PST when the mood surrounding the series would suddenly change. A 7.1 earthquake shook the stands and rattled the entire bay area to its core. Eventually, ABC would get the signal back and use their blimp to show the shock and horror the bay area just received. The Bay Bridge the very symbol of the series had a collapsed section, and millions watched horrified as a car drove over the edge. It was clear the quake was a bad one as fires began to spread all over the city, heavily damaging the marina district. The most horrifying damage came on the two-tiered Cypress structure of Interstate 880 in Oakland, where the structure collapsed trapping hundreds of people heading home during rush hour. Had the World Series not caused many people to head home early to catch the game, chances are the damage could have been even worse. In the end, 59 people were killed many of them in the Cypress Structure, and the series would be delayed for ten days. When the series resumed, the Giants’s hearts were not in it, and they would end going down after two blow out losses at home, to complete the sweep.
1990: The Giants follow up their trip to the fall classic with a mediocre season finishing in third place with an 85-77 record.
1991: The Giants sputtered all season, posting a disappointing 75-87 record while finishing in a distant fourth place in the National League Western Division.
1992: Talk began to circulate about a possible move, as the Giants were struggling to finish in fifth place with a 72-90 record, in front of cold and shivering fans at Candlestick Park. Bob Lurie, who had saved the Giants 16 years earlier, sold the team to a group who ere all set to move the team to Tampa. However, Major League Baseball was not in favor of the move and arranged it, so a local investment group, led by Peter Magowan, saved the franchise and kept them in the city by the bay. To get fans excited about Giants baseball again one of Magowan’s first moves was to sign Barry Bonds two time National League MVP, and son of legendary Giant Bobby Bonds. Magowan would also begin working on building the Giants a new ballpark in a warmer part of the city.
1993: Barry Bonds wins his third MVP Award, while Dusty Baker is named Manager of the Year in his rookie season, as the Giants are in first Plaice most of the season. However, the red-hot play of the Atlanta Braves in the second half forces the Giants to settle for a runner-up finish, despite a 103-59 record that was their best since moving to San Francisco.
1994: When the strike hit on August 12th, the Giants were struggling and were playing sub .500 ball at 55-60, the Giants were within shouting distance of first place in the now weakened National League West, only three and a half games out. The most disappointing part of the strike ending the season was that Matt Williams was on pace to break Roger Maris’ record for home runs in a season.
1995: Coming off the strike, the Giants continue to struggle with injuries and poor pitching, and finish in last place with a 67-77 record.
1996: In 1973, Bobby Bonds just missed becoming the first player to have 40 home run 40 stole base season; 23 years later, his son Barry becomes the first player to do it in the National League and second overall to accomplish the feat. Despite the 40-40 performance from Bonds, the Giants still finish in last place with an awful 68-94 record.
1997: Sporting the slogan “It’s Giants baseball; anything can happen,” the team charged out to a 16-5 record at the start of the season, en route to a six-game advantage over the Los Angeles Dodgers at the All-Star break. In just three weeks, their lead evaporated, and they were tied with the Dodgers. For the next six weeks, the old rivals battled back and forth, with neither club was able to lead by more than three games. In one of the most memorable series in Giants’ history, capped by Brian Johnson’s 12th inning, game-winning homer, they swept LA to again pull into a tie. The Giants took the division lead the next day with a win against the San Diego Padres, and although they lost the next day, the Dodgers were losing three straight games to the Colorado Rockies. With two more wins over the Padres and a split of two games against the Rockies, the Giants enjoyed a two and a half-game lead as they headed home for their final three-game set of the season. “Dustiny” could not be denied; one win by the Giants would seal the title with a record of 90-72. However, the Giants would lose in three straight to the Florida Marlins in the NLDS. The Giants would not quite recover from having to start the series in Florida where they lost the first two games in the Marlins final at-bat. This would later cause a change of the playoff format no longer would the higher seed be forced to play the first to Division Series games on the road.
1998: Although they trail the Western Champion San Diego Padres by nine games at season’s end, the Wild Card gives the Giants hope for postseason play. The Giants would make up a five-game deficit in the final ten games of the season to force a one-game playoff with the Chicago Cubs, at 89-73. The Giants fell behind early in the playoff game played at Wrigley Field and would lose 5-3 despite a three-run rally in the ninth inning.
1999: Injuries to Barry Bonds, Jeff Kent, and Ellis Burks slow the Giants, who finish 14 games back with an 86-76 record. However, five players bash 20-plus homers and drive in at least 80 RBI. With the team out of contention, the focus at the end of the season is the end of the Giants’ stay at frigid Candlestick Point, in the stadium now known as 3Com Park.
2000: The Giants christen the spectacular Pacific Bell Park in inauspicious fashion, losing the first six games in the new yard and 11 of their first 15 games overall. However, with the support of 3.3 million fans that sell out every game at the new stadium, the Giants win 97 games and its second division title in four years. While Jeff Kent wins the National League MVP, Dusty Baker captures his third manager of the Year Award. By season’s end, the Giants are considered heavy favorites to make the World Series. The Giants get off to a flying start winning the NLDS’s first game easily over the New York Mets. In the second game, the Giants used a shocking three-run homer by J.T. Snow to send the game to the extra innings, but the Mets would bounce back and even the series. The Giants would seemingly bounce back in Game 3 leading 2-1 in the eighth inning before Edgardo Alfonzo tied the game off closer Rob Nen. The Giants would be further stunned by Benny Agbayani’s dramatic 13th inning homer. The Giants would not recover losing Game 4 while being held to just one hit by Bobby Jones.
2001: Barry Bonds would put together one of the greatest offensive seasons in baseball history. Bonds would break out early, hitting his 500th Career home run in early April, and he would set a pace that would give him a shot at Mark McGwire’s single-season home run record of 70. Along the way, Bonds would have an incredible .863 slugging percentage. As the season wound down, pitchers would routinely walk around Bonds, seemingly not wanting him to break the record. Bonds’ quest for the record was furthered jeopardized when baseball stopped the season for a week following the September 11th terrorist attacks. When baseball resumed, Bonds kept rolling. While he got closer to the record, Bonds was walked, even more, gathering 177 free passes on the season while gathering a .515 on-base percentage. Bonds would finally tie the record on October 4th, going home for a season-ending three-game series with Los Angeles Dodgers. In the first inning of a game on October 5th, Bonds smashed a Chan Ho Park pitch into the stands for his record-breaking 71st home run. Bonds would go on to hit number 72, in the same game before ending the season with a new single-season record of 73 home runs. While Bonds was going after the record, the Giants were locked in a pennant race with Arizona Diamondbacks. The D-Backs held the Giants off by keeping a two-game lead for six weeks over the 90-72 Giants.
2002: Coming off his record season Barry Bonds would have another monster year, repeating as National League MVP while leading the league in batting average at .370 thanks in part to an incredible .582 on-base percentage. Along the way, Barry hits 46 home runs, becoming the fourth player in baseball history to hit 600 career home runs. The Giants would fall three games short of the National League Western Division title; however, their 95-66 record was good enough for a Wild Card berth. In the playoffs, Barry Bonds would shake off the label he could not win the big game as he hit three home runs in the Division series as the Giants stunned the Atlanta Braves in five games. Moving on to the NLCS, Barry continued to be dangerous, knocking in ten RBI. Benito Santiago was the hero as he pursued a career renaissance that saw him make the All-Star team for the first time ten years, winning the NLCS MVP as the Giants beat the St. Louis Cardinals in five games. In their first World Series in 13 years, the Giants would face the Anaheim Angels in the first World Series matchup of two Wild Card teams. In Game 1, at Anaheim, the Giants emerged with a 4-3 victory on Bonds got the Giants off to a fast start with a second-inning home run. Game 2 would be a wild affair as the Angels even the series with an 11-10 win. Bonds would go deep again, hitting a majestic shot in the ninth inning. As the series shifted to Pac Bell, the Giants would lose 10-4, despite another Bonds’ home run. After falling behind early in Game 4, the Giants would rally to win 4-3 to even the series. Carrying the momentum on the Giants would take a 3-2 series lead with a dominating 16-4 win. Back in Anaheim for Game 6, the Giants appeared to steamroll towards their first World Championship since moving to San Francisco, as Barry Bonds hit is 4th series HR, as the Giants held a 5-0 in the seventh inning. However, the Angels would stage an incredible rally scoring six runs in the seventh and eighth innings to force a seventh game. Disheartened, the Giants would fall in the series finale 4-1. Despite the disappointing loss, Barry Bonds had an impressive series with an incredible .700 on-base percentage as he was walked a World Series record 13 times. Following the season, the Giants would cause their fans more disappointment as they let popular manager Dusty Baker contract expire and failed to re-sign former MVP Jeff Kent.
2003: Entering the season under new manager Felipe Alou, the Giants would come flying out of the gates despite dealing with several critical losses off their World Series team, including closer Rob Nen, who missed the entire season due to shoulder surgery. The Giants would win their first seven games on the way to a 15-2 start as they quickly established a double-digit lead in the National League West. On June 23rd, the Los Angeles Dodgers would eliminate the Giants lead entering an essential midseason series. The Giants would easily take two out three games and would never be challenged again as they reestablished their double-digit lead, on the way to cruising to the division title with a record of 100-61. Along the way, Barry Bonds became the first player to win the MVP award in three straight seasons. However, the road to a third consecutive MVP was not easy for Bonds, who had to deal with the heartache of his father Bobby Bonds, a former Giants All-Stars passing. The death would hit Barry especially hard and caused him to miss nearly two weeks of action. Heading for the playoffs, the Giants were considered the favorites to return to the World Series. In Game 1 of the NLDS, the Giants would get off to a strong start as Jason Schmidt blanked the Florida Marlins in a 2-0 win. In Game 2, the Giants appeared to be cruising again as they grabbed a 4-1 lead. The Marlins would rally to win the game 9-5 thanks to sloppy play all around, including from gold glovers Jose Cruz Jr. and J.T. Snow. As the series shifted to Florida, the Giants appeared on the verge of taking back control of the series after taking a 3-2 lead in the top of the 11th inning in an extra-inning battle. The sloppy play would bite the Giants again as Jose Cruz dropped a flyball, which started a two-run game-winning rally for the Marlins. With a nagging injury preventing Schmidt from starting Game 4, the Giants were forced to start Jerome Williams, who struggled badly as the Marlins established a 5-1 lead. This time it would be the Giants who rallied as they tried to get a decisive fifth game, which would have been played in Pac Bell Park. With the scored tied 5-5 in the eighth inning, Yorvit Torrealba had the ball jarred loose in a home plate collision with Ivan Rodriguez, allowing two runs to score. The Giants would quickly get one back and had J.T. Snow at second with the tying run when Jeffrey Hammonds singled to left with two outs. However, Snow was tagged out as Rodriguez was able to hold on to the ball as the Marlins stunned the Giants 7-6 to take the series in four games.
2004: Barry Bonds would make a big splash on opening day as he tied his godfather Willie Mays for third all-time in home runs at 660. However, the Giants started out in a bog as they posted a 16-24 record through the first 40 games. In May, that would all change as the Giants ran off a ten-game winning streak to get back into the playoff picture. Once again, Bonds would lead the way for the Giants as he won his 4th straight MVP award and seventh overall as he had a league-leading .362 average while posting a .609 on-base percentage thanks to a record 232 walks from pitchers often afraid to face Barry. As the season wound down and the Giants battled the Los Angeles Dodgers for the division title Bonds would make history again joining Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth as members of the exclusive 700-homer club, with a blast against the fading San Diego Padres on September 17th. A week later, the Giants facing the Dodgers with the National League West title on the line would drop two of three games at SBC Park. Needing to sweep the Dodgers in Los Angeles in the final three games of the season, the Giants would watch a 3-0 lead melt away in the ninth inning on the next to last day of the season as they fell two games short of returning to the playoffs with a solid 91-71 record.
2005: The Giants began the season a man down as Barry Bonds recovering from three knee surgeries and worn down from the accusations of steroids use started the season on the disabled list with no idea when he would return. Without their MVP, the Giants would struggle to post a 12-11 record in April. In May with Bonds still hurting and still absent, the Giants continued to struggle, falling below .500. In June with Bonds nowhere to be found, except on his website where he gave health updates periodically, the Giants who needed to read the website updates themselves just to know what was going on continued to fade as they entered the All-Star Break with a record of 37-50. Bonds did not return until September as the Giants remained under .500. However, with the entire National League Western Division below .500, they still had an outside chance at winning the division. In September, those outside chances got a boost as Barry Bonds finally returned, hitting five home runs in just 14 games, but the Giants never made their move, as they ended up in third place with a disappointing 75-87 record.
2006: As the season began, Barry Bonds was the main story again, as the book “Game of Shadows,” written by two San Francisco Chronicle reporters familiar with the BALCO investigation, blew the lid off the Bonds Steroids allegations. The book had pages of documented proof, that came from leaked Grand Jury testimony and investigations, confirming almost beyond a doubt that Barry Bonds had been using steroids when he set the single-season home run record in 2001. This would lead baseball into launching an investigation on Bonds, while a Federal Grand Jury began investigating Bonds for perjury. This all came as Barry Bonds was pursuing Babe Ruth for second on the all-time home run list. However, Bonds now 43 was breaking down, and he struggled from the start of the season, as it took him until May 28th to pass Ruth at 715 off Byung-Hyun Kim of the Colorado Rockies at AT&T Park, it was just his seventh home run of the season at the time Bonds hit he had a batting was just .254. As Bonds got healthier in the second half, he made a serious push at Hank Aaron’s record of 755 career home runs, as he ended the season with 26 homers putting him within 21 of the record at season’s end. Despite Bonds’ power surge and continued impressive pitching Matt Cain, the Giants never made their push at the division title as they faded out of the race losing 13 of their final 15 games to finish in third place with a record 76-85. Following the season, the Giants would undergo a host of changes as manager Felipe Alou was not offered a new contract. The Giants hired longtime San Diego Padres skipper Bruce Bochy. The Giants would see Jason Schmidt leave to sign a deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers but quickly replaced him by signing Oakland Athletics ace Barry Zito.
2007: As the season began, the question was not if Barry Bonds would break Hank Aaron’s career record of home runs, but when. However, with the looming grand jury investigation and baseball starting an in-depth steroids report, it was clear that it would not be a fun ride for the Giants and their legendary slugger. While the Giants signed Barry Zito to anchor a reliable young pitching staff, the line up was older and filled with many holes, as Rich Aurilia returned to the bay after a four-year absence. Unfortunately for the Giants, Zito, there significant free-agent acquisition struggled from the start of the season. He started a 7-0 season-opening loss to the San Diego Padres and finished the year at 11-13 with a disappointing 4.53 ERA. The Giants did not start much better themselves, winning just two of their first nine games. The Giants would rebound to win eight straight to end April with a winning record of 13-11. However, May would come with no such relief as they played mediocre baseball and slipped below .500. Unreliable relief pitching was a burdensome as the Giants bullpen was awful. The lowlight was on May 29th when a hostile crowd at Shea Stadium mocked former Met Armando Benitez into meltdown as he balked home the tying run and served up a batting practice fastball to Carlos Delgado for a painful 5-4 loss. The Giants would unload Benitez immediately after the loss. Their starting pitching was not much better as Barry Zito got shelled in a 15-3 loss to the Athletics in his return to Oakland. June would bring even more pain for the Giants as they fell out of the race, during a seven-game losing streak, leaving just the All-Star Game and Barry’s chase of history for the Giants to look forward to the rest of the season. After the All-Star Game at AT&T Field, the Giants plunged further, losing five of six, while Bonds closed in on Hank Aaron. The magic moment would finally come on August 7th when Barry Bonds hit a fifth-inning home run off Mike Basick of the Washington Nationals, becoming the new all-time home run leader at 756. A short ceremony was held, with Hank Aaron himself giving Bonds a message on the video board at AT&T Field, however in typical fashion, the Giants would lose the game 8-6. Bonds would hit six more homers to finish the season with 28 homers, and his career total at 762 as the Giants announced at the season’s final homestand that Barry Bonds would not be resigned following the season. The Giants looked toward the future following an awful 71-91 season that had them in last place.
2008: The Giants began life without Barry Bonds, with the focus of the team changing from power-hitting to power pitching, as the Giants had one of the best young pitching staffs in all of baseball, and this was despite the continued disappointment of Barry Zito. He posted an awful 10-17 record with a 5.15 ERA to match. The Giants’ pitching staff’s story was the emergence of Tim Lincecum, who posted an 18-5 record, with a 2.62 ERA and a league-high 265 strikeouts, to capture the National League Cy Young Award in just his second season. The rest of the Giants pitching staff mostly pitched in bad luck, as the Giants offense was nonexistent through much of the season, as Bengie Molina led the team in home runs, with 16 as the Giants struggled all season to hit the ball, finishing in fourth place with a record of 72-90.
2009: With Tim Lincecum coming off a Cy Young season, the Giants pitching staff got even better in the off-season as they signed future Hall of Famer Randy Johnson, who was closing in on his 300th career win. They also hoped Johnson, a five-time winner of the Cy Young award, could bring some veteran leadership. Lincecum continued to be one of the best pitchers in baseball with a 2.48 ERA and 261 strikeouts. However, poor run support continued as the Giants offense continued to be their Achilles ‘ heel. Lincecum would again win the Cy Young despite winning just 15 games while losing seven. Also providing the Giants with strong pitching was Matt Cain, who was selected to the All-Star Game as he posted a 14-8 record with a 2.89 ERA. Meanwhile, Randy Johnson would post an 8-6 record as he was clearly past his prime, as he won his 300th game on June 4th with a 4-1 road win over the Washington Nationals. He would retire at season’s end with 303 career wins and 4,875 career strikeouts. However, the season’s best pitching performance came from the Giants fifth starter Jonathan Sanchez, who tossed a no-hitter against the San Diego Padres in an 8-0 win on July 10th. However, offensively the Giants continued to have their problems as Pablo Sandoval led the Giants in Home Runs with 25 while driving in a team-high 90 runs, as the Giants were among the worst scoring teams in the National League. The Giants would battle all season for the Wild Card, but they would fall short as they settled for third place in the NL Western Division with 88-74.
2010: The Giants had the pitching to win led by Tim Lincecum, who had already won two Cy Young Awards at the age of 25. However, their hitting left plenty to be desired, and as many great starts were lost due to the Giants’ inability to score runs. In May, the Giants were struggling near .500, playing a close game almost every night. With a tension building, team announcer Duane Kuiper labeled Giants baseball as torture. Looking to boost their offense, the Giants called up top prospect Buster Posey on May 29th. The call up was just what the doctor ordered as the Giants scored 12 runs in a win over the Arizona Diamondbacks, as Posey went 3-for-4 with three RBI. Soon Buster Posey was in the middle of the line up as the Giants traded away Bengie Molina to the Texas Rangers to clear the Catcher spot. Despite the strong bat of their rookie catcher, the Giants continued to torture their fans with a late June slump that saw them sitting in fourth place with a 41-40 record on July 4th, seven and a half games behind the San Diego Padres. As the second half began, the Giants began to string together a few wins, posting a 20-8 mark in July as Buster Posey was named Player of the Month as he had a 21 game hitting streak. Giants General Manager began to improve the team through the waiver wire intelligently. Pat Burrell, who was released by the Tampa Bay Rays in May, was called June 4th and had several big home runs, including a game-winning two-run home run on July 31st to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 2-1. As August began, the Giants were in a battle with the Padres for the National League West, getting as close as one game on August 7th, but the Padres built the lead back to six games as the Giants stumbled over the next two weeks. Looking for more help, the Giants again went to the waiver wire, picking up Cody Ross from the Florida Marlins. The move to grab Ross was inspired by the Padres also seeking to add the Marlins outfielder after the trade deadline. Ross would be a significant addition to the Giants line up hitting .288 with three home runs in 33 games. As September began, the Padres began to falter. On September 9th, the Giants started a four-game series in San Diego, taking three of four games to take over the division lead for the first time since the early weeks of the season. The Giants would hold the lead the rest of the season, as they faced the Padres at AT&T Park, needing just one win in their final three games to clinch the division. Of course, the Giants, who like to torture their fans, lost the first two games before winning 3-0 with Jonathan Sanchez on the mound in the final game of the season to win the West win a 92-70 record. Buster Posey, who was seen as the catalyst for the Giants turnaround would be named Rookie of the Year, with 18 Home Runs, 67 RBI and a .305 average.
2010 Postseason: As the playoffs began, the Giants were an underdog even against the Wild Card Atlanta Braves in the NLDS. Game 1 of the NLDS, would be a typical torture game as the Giants won 1-0, with Tim Lincecum pitching a complete game two-hitter, with 14 strikeouts in his first postseason start. Things looked good early for the Giants in Game 2 of the NLDS, as they held a 4-0 lead early. However, the Giants pen would falter as the Braves won the game 5-4 in 11 innings. As the series shifted to Atlanta, the Giants were in another tight game, trailing 2-1 in the ninth inning after Eric Hinske gave the Braves a lead with an eighth-inning homer. However, Aubry Huff would tie the game with a single. Buster Posey would than reach on an error by 2B Brooks Conrad that allowed Freddy Sanchez to score the winning run, all with two outs. Rookie Madison Bumgarner would start Game 4, and pitch six solid innings, allowing two runs, as the Giants won 3-2 to advance to the NLCS. In the NLCS, the Giants were matched against the Philadelphia Phillies, who reached the World Series in the previous two seasons. Game 1 would be the matchup of Tim Lincecum and Roy Halladay, who both dazzled in their postseason debuts in the NLDS, with Halladay throwing a no-hitter against the Cincinnati Reds. However, the story of Game 1 was Cody Ross, who homered twice to lead the Giants to a 4-3 win. After a 6-1 loss in Game 2, the series shifted to San Francisco, where the Giants got a big performance from Matt Cain, who allowed on two hits in seven innings as Cody Ross continued to get the big hit in a 3-0 win. Game 4 would go back and forth before Juan Uribe won the game 6-5 with a sacrifice fly in the ninth inning. With a chance to punch a ticket to the fall classic, the Giants were beaten at AT&T Park 4-2 in Game 5, as Halladay won his rematch against Lincecum. Jonathan Sanchez would struggle in Game 6 in Philadelphia, allowing two first-inning runs. The Giants bullpen would come up huge, allowing five hits over seven scoreless innings as the Giants rallied to win the 3-2, with Uribe delivering the big hit with an eighth-inning home run. Brian Wilson, whose beard had become one of the team’s symbols, got a five-out save for the clincher. Cody Ross, who hit .350 with three home runs, three doubles, and recorded five RBI, was named NLCS MVP.
2010 World Series: In the World Series against the Texas Rangers, the Giants would be underdogs again. The opener would feature another highly anticipated pitching matchup between Tim Lincecum and Cliff Lee. However, the duel never developed as both star pitchers struggled, with the Giants offense becoming the story, with Juan Uribe’s three-run home run capping a six-run fifth inning that gave the Giants an 11-7 win at AT&T Park. Matt Cain was sharp in Game 2, not allow a run over seven and two-thirds inning, as the Giants offense continued to be the story, as they broke open a close game with seven runs in the eighth inning to take a 2-0 series lead with a 9-0 win. After the Rangers won 4-2 in Game 3, as the series shifted to Texas, the Giants looked to Madison Bumgarner to deliver another big performance. Bumgarner exceeded expectations, allowing just three hits over eight innings, with six strikeouts as the Giants won 4-0 to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. On November 1st, the Giants were on the verge of ending more than fifty years of frustration by the bay, as they looked for the first World Series Championship since 1954 when they still played in New York. Game 5 would see a rematch between Tim Lincecum and Cliff Lee, this time it would be the expected pitcher’s duel as neither allowed a run through the first six innings. Finally, in the seventh inning, Edgar Renteria would give the Giants a 3-0 lead with a three-run homer. The Rangers would respond with a solo home run by Nelson Cruz in the bottom of the seventh. However, it was not enough as the Giants shut down the Rangers the rest of the way, with Brian Wilson on the mound earning the save and striking out Cruz to end the game and give the San Francisco Giants their first World Championship. Renteria, whose home run gave the Giants their 3-1 win in the clincher, would be named World Series MVP. The Giants who started the season by torturing their fans had become a band of misfits who will be beloved in the Bay Area for years to come.
2011: After winning their first World Championship since moving to San Francisco, the Giants started the season on the road against the rival Los Angeles Dodgers. The Giants would lose the opener 2-1 as Clayton Kershaw outdueled Tim Lincecum. Following the Bryan Stow, a Giants fan who went to Dodger Stadium was nearly beaten to death by two Dodger fans. The Giants would help Stow and his family as he spent most of the season in a coma after the beating. The Giants would come home after posting a 2-4 record against the Dodgers and San Diego Padres. On Opening Day as the Giants rose the Championship Flag, they showed some of that World Series magic again, as they beat the St. Louis Cardinals 5-4 in 12 innings on a bases-loaded single by Aaron Rowand. The Giants, despite some struggles, ended April with a 13-13 record. In May, as Freddy Sanchez started to heat up, so did the Giants as they climbed the division ladder and took over first place in the National League West. The Giants would have a lead of three and a half games on May 23rd after sweeping a series with the Oakland Athletics at AT&T Park. Two days later, during a 7-6 loss to the Florida Marlins in 12 innings, the Giants season took a devastating setback. Buster Posey suffered a broken leg in a home-plate collision with Scott Cousins on the winning run in the 12th inning. Posey, who also had torn ligaments in his ankle, would miss the rest of the season. Through the first two months, Posey had been one of the Giants’ top hitters, batting .284, with four home runs and 21 RBI. Already playing without Pablo Sandoval, who missed 41 games after breaking his hand in April, the Giants would lose another crucial part of their offense in August, when Freddy Sanchez was lost for the year with a shoulder injury. Despite the injuries, the Giants remained in first place as they went into the All-Star Break with a record of 52-40. With manager Bruce Bochy leading the NL in the midsummer classic, the Giants sent six players Tim Lincecum, Pablo Sandoval, Matt Cain, Ryan Vogelsong, and Brian Wilson. Vogelsong was the most intriguing story of the Giants who were at the All-Star Game in Phoenix. Beginning his career with the Giants in 2000, Vogelsong was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2001. After five years in Pittsburgh, he would head off to Japan after returning to the states in 2010; he would spend the entire season in the minors. A spring training invites Ryan Vogelsong was the Giants most reliable pitcher in the 2011 season, posting a 13-7 record with a 2.71 ERA. After the break the Giants continued to hold the lead over the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Giants would send top pitching prospect Zack Wheeler to the New York Mets to land Carlos Beltran. Despite the deal and Beltran batting .323 over the last two months, the Giants offensive woes continued, as they were caught by the Arizona Diamondbacks, after losing two of three during a critical three-game series by the bay. August would be a bad month for the Giants, as they posted an 11-18 record and lost their lead in the West. Facing the Giants again at AT&T Park to begin September, the Giants again lost two out of three as the D-Backs started to pull away, building a nine and a half-game lead. The Giants would eventually put a halt to their skid in September, as they won eight straight games. It was not enough as the Giants only got within five games before losing two of three in Dodger Stadium. The Giants would finish the season with a record of 86-76, finishing in second place eight games behind the Diamondbacks.
2012: After a disappointing finish, the Giants looked to rebound as they got a boost right away when Catcher Buster Posey was healthy at the start of the season after his devastating knee injury. However, facing the reigning Western Division Champions to start the season, the Giants got off to a rough start, losing their first three games in Phoenix. The Giants would get their first win of the season in Colorado as Barry Zito earned his first shutout since joining the Giants in a 7-0 whitewash of the Rockies. After five disappointing seasons, Zito finally showed the form that made him a Cy Young winner in Oakland, posting a record of 15-8, with an ERA of 4.15. Unfortunately, the same could not be said for Tim Lincecum, who struggled with a 10-15 record along with a hefty ERA of 5.18. Meanwhile, Matt Cain emerged as the team’s ace, posting a record of 16-5 with an ERA of 2.79, in the Giants home opener Cain would pitch a complete-game one-hitter as the Giants blanked the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-0. The Giants would later get some bad news as Closer Brian Wilson was lost for the season after just two appearances. Still, all was not lost by the Bay as Sergio Romero, and Santiago Casilla filled in and gave the Giants one of the best bullpens in the National League. Through the first two months, the Giants endured several ups and downs, as they lost Pablo Sandoval, who started the season with a 20 game winning streak for most of May with a broken hamate bone in his wrist. However, Melky Cabrera helped pick up the slack with 51 hits. The Giants fell seven and a half games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in May, as they closed the month with a record of 27-24. In June, the Giants would awaken, posting a 17-11to erase the Dodgers lead, the highlight of the month came on June 13th as Matt Cain pitched a Perfect Game at AT&T Park while blanking the Houston Astros 10-0. Cain would set a tie a record held by Sandy Koufax with 14 strikeouts in a Perfect Game. The momentum gained in June would lead the Giants to get four starters (Melky Cabrera, P Matt Cain, C Buster Posey, and 3B Pablo Sandoval) in the All-Star Game. Cain would get the win, while Pablo Sandoval’s triple and Melky Cabrera’s home run were the difference as the National League won the game 8-0. Cabrera would earn the game’s MVP as he ended the first half leading the batting race by a large margin .346. However, soon the feel-good season of Melky Cabrera would take a sour turn, as he would be suspended 50 games for using a Performance Enhancing Drug. Fortunately, at the trade deadline, the Giants were able to trade for Hunter Pence from the Philadelphia Phillies. The Giants also acquired utilityman Marco Scutaro from the Colorado Rockies at the deadline. Scutaro would make a significant contribution right away, with a 20 game hitting streak. While Cabrera was suspended, the Giants did not skip a beat as Angel Pagan helped fill the void with a strong second half that saw him take advantage of the gaps at AT&T Park for 13 triples, the best season for a Giant since the team moved to San Francisco. The Giants’ best player in the second half was Buster Posey. He became the first catcher in the National League in over 70 years to win the batting title, winning with a .336 mark after Cabrera was declared ineligible. Posey would also have 24 homers, 39 doubles, 103 RBI, and an OPS of .957 to claim the National League MVP and Hank Aaron Awards. Led by Posey, the Giants would pull away from the Dodgers to win their second division title in three years with a record of 94-68.
2012 Postseason: In the NLDS, the Giants would open at home against the Cincinnati Reds, with Tim Lincecum demoted to the bullpen. In the opener, Matt Cain got the start, and the loss as the Reds won 5-2. Things were even bleaker after an ugly 9-0 loss in Game 2. Down 0-2, with the next three games in Cincinnati, where the Giants rarely won, it was a little certainty that the Giants had played their last game at home for the season. In Game 3, the Giants fell behind early trailing 1-0 after the first inning. However, the Reds would not score again as Ryan Vogelsong, and Homer Bailey staged a classic pitcher’s duel. The game would be tied 1-1 after nine innings when the Giants caught a break as they scored when 3B Scott Rolen bobbled a grounder from Joquin Arias, allowing Buster Posey to score the winning run. In Game 4, Angel Pagan would get the Giants offense started with a leadoff home run, while Tim Lincecum came on for a struggling Barry Zito to pitch dominant ball for 4.3 innings as the Giants evened the series with an 8-3 win. In Game 5, Matt Cain and Mat Latos battled through four scoreless innings before the Giants offense broke out in a big way with six runs, powered by a Buster Posey Grand Slam. The Reds would not go down without a fight as the Giants failed to score another run. However, with Sergio Romo on the mound to close things out, the Giants would win 6-4 to become the first team to win the best of five series after losing the first two games at home and winning the next three games on the road. The Giants would move on to face the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLCS. Back home at AT&T, the Giants would suffer another setback, losing the opener 6-4. The Giants would start Game 2 would an Angel Pagan home run, as Ryan Vogelsong gave the team the solid start they needed. However, the game turned in the fourth inning when Marco Scutaro, who was involved in an ugly collision at second base earlier in the game, cleared the bases with a single that rolled through the legs of LF Matt Holliday allowing all three runs to score. However, as the series shifted to St. Louis, the Cardinals showed why they were World Champions beating the Giants 3-1 and 8-3 to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. Facing elimination for the fourth time in the postseason, the Giants got a great start from Barry Zito tossing 7.2 shutout innings as the Giants won the game 5-0. Back by the Bay, the Giants got a new life and quickly took advantage, jumping out to a 5-0 lead in the second inning as Ryan Vogelsong had a career-high nine strikeouts as the Giants forced a seventh game with a 6-1 win. In Game 7, the Giants would clobber the Cardinals again, winning 9-0, as Marco Scutaro won the NLCS MVP with a record 14 hits, batting .500, with three hits in the clincher. Scutaro would also catch the final out an infield pop fly off the bat of Matt Holiday in a driving rain shower. The Giants stormed the field to celebrate, becoming just the second team in baseball history to rally from six elimination games in the same postseason.
2012 World Series: In the World Series for the second time in three seasons, the Giants were matched up against the Detroit Tigers. Back in the All-Star Game, Pablo Sandoval helped get the Giants home field with a bases-clearing triple off Tigers ace Justin Verlander. In Game 1 of the Fall Classic, Kung Fu Panda delivered an early body blow to the Tigers psyche with three home runs, as the Giants won the opener 8-3. Sandoval became just the fifth player to hit three home runs in a World Series game and the first to do so in the series opener. Game 2 would be a pitcher duel as Madison Bumgarner, and Doug Fister battled to the seventh inning with neither side able to score. The Tigers had a chance to score in the second inning, but Buster Posey was able to tag Prince Fielder at home after receiving a relay throw from Gregor Blanco and Marco Scutaro. The Giants would scratch out a run after Gregor Blanco laid down a perfect bunt to load the bases in the seventh inning, adding another in the eighth the Giants would win the game 2-0 and take a 2-0 series lead to Detroit. In Game 3, the Giants got some sweet music from Ryan Vogelsong, as they blanked the Tigers again 2-0 on a second-inning triple by Blanco. The big moment in the game came in the fifth inning when the Tigers loaded the bases with one out. Vogelsong would strike out Quintin Berry and get Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera to pop up to end the rally. Looking for a sweep, Game 4 would go to extra innings. Still, the Giants would not be denied as Marco Scutaro singled home Ryan Theriot in the 10th inning to give the Giants a 4-3 lead. Sergio Romo struck out the side to secure the Giants’ second World Championship in the years, as Pablo Sandoval was named Series MVP.
2013: After winning two World Championships in three years, the Giants made sure they secured the players responsible for their success as MVP Buster Posey inked a nine-year contract extension as both Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro were re-signed. Despite suffering a 4-0 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Opening Day, the Giants got off to a strong start, winning seven of their first ten games, including a thrilling 1-0 win over the St. Louis Cardinals in their home opener as Barry Zito outdueled Jake Westbrook. Through the first two months, the Giants threaded water around the .500 mark at 29-25, as they struggled away from AT&T Park with a 9-15 record over the first two months. One early highlight came on May 25th as Angel Pagan became the first player with a walk-off inside the park home run in nine years, as the Giants beat the Tampa Bay Rays in 6-5 in ten innings. The Giants continued to struggle on the road in June as they lost 13 of 18 on the way to a terrible 10-17 record overall. Injuries played a role in the Giants’ struggles, as Ryan Vogelsong, who started slowly missed 12 weeks after getting hit on the hand with a pitch, while Pagan tore his hamstring. The struggles continued in July as they lost eight of nine to start the month, with the struggles now following them home as they were swept by the New York Mets at AT&T Park. The Giants struggled in every aspect of the game, pitching and hitting as they were No-Hit by Homer Bailey of the Cincinnati Reds on July 2nd. As the All-Star Break approached the Giants playoff hopes were in serious doubt. Looking for a jump start, Tim Lincecum, who had struggled in the first half, tossed a No-Hitter on July 13th as the Giants blanked the San Diego Padres 9-0 at Petco Park. Lincecum was effectively wild, striking out 13 batters as he needed 148 pitches to complete the gem. However, there would be no momentum as the Giants who entered the All-Star Break with a record of 43-51continued to struggle as their playoff hopes were effectively ended by a terrible 8-17 record in July. Not even Lincecum could get on track with the No-Hitter as he had another disappointing season, with a record of 10-14 with an ERA of 4.37. There were disappointments up and down the Giants roster; Matt Cain posted a record of 8-10. He went on the Disabled List for the first time in his career after being hit by a line drive in August. Barry Zito had yet another disappointing season, posting a record of 5-11 with an awful ERA of 5.74 in his final season with the Giants. The lone exception to the Giants disappointing rotation was Madison Bumgarner, who made his first All-Star Game and posted a solid record of 13-9 with a 2.77 ERA. Even Buster Posey’s numbers fell off as he hit 15 home runs with 72 RBI, while Hunter Pence led the team with 27 homers and 99 RBI. The Giants would finish with a disappointing record of 76-86, just two games away from last place.
2014: Coming off a disappointing season, the Giants looked to rebound and return to October baseball. The Giants would start the season strong, beating the Arizona Diamondbacks 9-8 on opening day, as they won 10 of their first 15 games, including winning a pair of series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Helping to spark the Giants early in the season was Michael Morse, who signed a one year contract worth $6 million, posting a .919 OPS over the first two months of the season, which would be essential Pablo Sandoval struggling in the early part of the season. Another key to the Giants’ early success was their bullpen, which was led early by Sergio Romo, who had 12 saves in the first five weeks. After Romo faltered in May, the Giants would go to a closer by committee, with Santiago Casilla saving 19 games. However, the Giants’ best weapon out of the bullpen was middle reliever Yusmeiro Petit who retired 46 straight batters establishing a new major league record from the bullpen. Another reliever contributing was Jean Machi, who won seven games. A strong bullpen was necessary for the Giants, all-season as Madison Bumgarner was their only reliable, consistent starter, winning 18 games, with a 2.98 ERA. The Giants would build a nine and a half-game lead on June 9th, holding a record of 42-21 after a sweep of the New York Mets. However, the Giants would suffer a June swoon, winning just five of their next 23 games. One of the only wins in that period came on June 25th, with Tim Lincecum pitching his second career no-hitter against the San Diego Padres at AT&T Park, Lincecum struck out six batters, walking just one. Lincecum was solid early in the season, posting a 12-9 record before a late-season slump knocked him out of the rotation. The Giants’ slump would erase their lead over the Dodgers, but they remained neck and neck with their rivals over the next two months. Looking for a boost to their starting rotation, the Giants acquired Jake Peavy from the Boston Red Sox for LHP Edwin Escobar and RHP Heath Hembree on July 26th. Peavy pitched in hard luck, losing his first three starts with the Giants, before taking a perfect game into the seventh inning against the Chicago White Sox, before earning a 7-1 win. Though the Giants lost their grip on first place, due to their mediocre summer, they managed to hold on to grab a Wild Card spot with a record of 88-74.
2014 Postseason: The Giants would face the Pittsburgh Pirates in the NL Wild Card Game at PNC Park. With Madison Bumgarner on the mound, the Giants were in prime position for another magical October run. Bumgarner was dominant, pitching a complete-game shutout, allowing just four hits while striking out ten batters as the Giants won the game 8-0. The big blow in the game came in the fourth inning when Brandon Crawford broke open a scoreless tie with a Grand Slam. In the Division Series, Jake Peavy got the ball in Game 1 against the Washington Nationals. Peavy did not allow a hit until the fifth inning as the Giants built a 3-0 lead. Hunter Strickland, who struck out Ian Desmond with the bases loaded to end the sixth inning, was touched up for two home runs in the seventh. However, Sergio Romo and Santiago Casilla shut the door as the Giants held on to win 3-2. In Game 2, the Giants were handcuffed all game by Jordan Zimmermann. Tim Hudson kept them in the game, allowing just one run while striking out eight. With two outs in the ninth inning, Joe Panik worked out a walk against the Zimmermann, leading to a pitching change. Buster Posey would great Nats Closer Drew Storen with a single. Pablo Sandoval followed with a double to tie the game 1-1. However, Posey was thrown out at home plate. Neither team would score over the next nine innings as the game set a record for the longest postseason game in MLB history. Keeping the game tied was keyed by Yusmeiro Petit, who pitched six scoreless innings. Finally, in the 18th inning, Brandon Belt broke the tie with a long home run off Tanner Roark as the Giants won the game 2-1. As the series shifted to San Francisco, Madison Bumgarner suffered his only hiccup of the postseason. A throwing error led to a three-run seventh inning allowing the Nationals to win the game 4-1. The Giants would rebound in Game 4, winning 3-2 to reach the NLCS. The Giants would face the St. Louis Cardinals in a battle of teams that won the last four National League Pennants. With Madison Bumgarner on the mound, the Giants drew first blood in the NLCS, winning the opener at Busch Stadium 3-0. Bumgarner pitched seven and two-thirds shutout innings, allowing just four singles and striking out seven to outduel Cardinals ace, Adam Wainwright. The Cardinals would bounce back with a 5-4 win in Game 2 on Kolten Wong’s walk-off home run off Sergio Romo. As the series shifted to AT&T Park, the Giants struck early, scoring four runs in the first inning on Travis Ishikawa’s bases-clearing double. The Cardinals would chip away and tie the score as the game went to extra innings. In the tenth inning, Brandon Crawford led off with a walk, after failing to get down a bunt Juan Perez singled, Crawford to second base. Gregor Blanco was also called on to bunt and got one down perfectly; Randy Choate of the Cardinals would throw the ball away, allowing Crawford to score the winning run in a 5-4 game. The Giants would also use small ball to win Game 4, as a three-run sixth inning and strong long relief by Petit allowed the Giants to win 6-4 to take a 3-1 series lead. Looking to reach the World Series for the third time five years, the Giants would send Madison Bumgarner to the mound in Game 5. Bumgarner was strong, but the Cardinals held a 3-2 lead after homers by Matt Adams and Tony Cruz in the fourth inning. Bumgarner was lifted for a pinch hitter in the eighth inning. That pinch hitter was Michael Morse, who tied the game with a home run off Pat Neshek. The Cardinals would load the bases against Santiago Casilla in the ninth inning, but Jeremy Affeldt kept the game tied 3-3 by getting Oscar Taveras to bounce back to the pitcher’s mound. In the bottom of the inning, Pablo Sandoval led off with a single and was followed up by Brandon Belt, who drew a four-pitch walk against Michael Wacha. Travis Ishikawa stepped up and delivered a three-run home run to send the Giants to the World Series with a 6-3 win as Madison Bumgarner was named NLCS MVP.
2014 World Series: With five days between the end of the NLCS and the start of the World Series, the Giants were able to tab Madison Bumgarner for the opener as they faced the Kansas City Royals. The Giants managed to get three runs for Bumgarner before he took the hill, scoring three runs off James Shields in the first inning. Bumgarner was terrific again, allowing one run on four hits, as the Giants won 7-1. Before allowing a solo home run to Salvador Perez in the seventh inning, Bumgarner set a new postseason record 322?3 consecutive scoreless innings and took over the Giants record for postseason wins with six. The Royals would rebound with a 7-2 win in Game 2. As the series shifted to San Francisco, the Giants found themselves being frustrated at what the Royals do best, as they scratched out three runs against Tim Hudson, and then used their bullpen to hold on for a 3-2 win to take the series lead. In Game 4, the Giants found themselves in a must-win game. However, things looked bleak by the bay as Ryan Vogelsong allowed four runs in the fourth inning. The Giants would bring in Yusmeiro Petit to stop the bleeding, and once again Petit delivered when it was needed most, pitching three scoreless innings. The Giants would surge back with ten runs to win the game 11-4 to even the series. In Game 5, Madison Bumgarner took the mound again and dominated pitching a complete-game shutout, allowing just four hits and striking out eight as the Giants won the game 5-0 to take a 3-2 series lead. Looking to close out the Royals, Jake Peavy was hit hard in Game 6, as the Royals scored seven runs in the second inning to win the game 10-0 and force a decisive seventh game. The Giants would have an extra arm in the bullpen for Game 7, as Madison Bumgarner as held in reserve with Tim Hudson getting the start. The Giants would scratch out two runs against Jeremy Guthrie. The Royals would chase Hudson out of the game with two runs in the bottom of the second. Jeremy Affeldt helped out by a critical double play turned by Joe Panik kept the game tied 2-2 until Michael Morse singled home Pablo Sandoval to give the Giants a 3-2 lead in the fourth inning. After Affeldt retired the Royals in the fourth inning, Manager Bruce Bochy brought in Madison Bumgarner to bring home the championship. Bumgarner again dominated the Royals retiring the 14 batters after a leadoff single to Alex Infante and stood one out away from a World Championship when Alex Gordon singled and reached third on an error. Bumgarner would be unshaken with the tying run on third base and got Salvador Perez to pop out to Pablo Sandoval to end the game and end the World Series. Initially, Madison Bumgarner was awarded the win but was changed to a save, with Affeldt getting the win. Bumgarner would win the World Series MVP as broke the record set by Curt Schilling for the most innings pitched in a single postseason. Madison Bumgarner would also win the Sports Illustrated Sportsmen of the Year for his dominant postseason.
2015: After winning their third World Series in five years, the San Francisco Giants looked to end the Championships pattern in even years, mediocrity in odd years. Despite losing two critical hitters as Pablo Sandoval signed with the Boston Red Sox, while Michael Morse signed with the Miami Marlins. The Giants did not help themselves at the start of the season, as they lost their first five games at home, and eight in a row overall to start the year with a record of 3-9. Pitching was a prime concern for the Giants as their starting staff other than Madison Bumgarner all had disappointing seasons. Bumgarner was rock steady all season for the Giants, posting a record of 18-9 with a 2.93 ERA and 234 strikeouts. The rest of the starting five stumbled as neither Tim Hudson, Ryan Vogelsong nor Jake Peavy won a game during April. Hudson, in his final season in the majors, posted a record of 8-9 with an ERA of 4.44, while Peavy fighting through a back injury made just 19 starts, posting a record of 8-6. Vogelsong also struggled all season, with a 9-11 record with an ERA of 4.67, while Matt Cain started the season on the disabled list after elbow surgery. As May arrived, the Giants awoke, winning their first five games to post a 21-9 record to get back even with the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Western Division standing. The month’s highlight came during a three-game series with the Dodgers, which saw the Giants win all three games with a shutout at AT&T Park, with Madison Bumgarner adding insult to injury taking Clayton Kershaw deep in a 4-0 win on May 21st. On pitcher who emerged during May was rookie Chris Heston who took Cain’s spot in the rotation and proved himself quite able. Heston would post a record of 12-11 with a 3.95 ERA, highlight by a 5-0 no-hitter against the New York Mets on June 9th at Citi Field. Despite the No-Hitter in New York, June was a disappointing for the Giants, as injuries to key hitters began to take their toll. The most significant loss may have been Hunter Pence, who suffered a fractured forearm in Spring Training and spent all season dealing with nagging injuries, as he was limited to 52 games. Pence when active was vital for the Giants, hitting .275 with nine home runs and 40 RBI. Other players missing large chunks of the season included Angel Pagan, Joe Panik, Brandon Belt, and Nori Aoki. Helping to keep the Giants alive in the playoff chase was Buster Posey, who put up MVP numbers, with 19 home runs, 95 RBI, and a solid .318 average, while Brandon Crawford led the team with 21 home runs. As the Giants ended July with a record of 56-45, they still had a shot at returning to the playoffs. Looking to add an arm and a bat, the Giants acquired Mike Leake from the Cincinnati Reds at the trade deadline for pitching prospect Keury Mella and minor league third baseman Adam Duvall. The deal was a bust for the Giants as Leake went on the disabled list with a strained hamstring and posting a 2-5 record over the last two months as a four-game sweep at Wrigley Field against the Chicago Cubs ended any hope of getting a Wild Card spot. The Giants also faded in the division race as they suffered through a 13-16 month in August. As September began, the Giants suffered a crushing three-game sweep on the road against the Dodgers. The Giants would not recover as the Dodgers won the division, and the Giants again missed the playoffs in an odd years, finishing second in the West with a record of 84-78.
2016: The San Francisco Giants looked to continue the trend of winning championships in even number years as they added two big arms to their pitching staff by signing Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija. Both Cueto and Samardzija pitched well early, as the Giants won six of their first eight games. April did have its rough stretches for the Giants, as they suffered through a nine-game stretch, where they won just one game. Despite the slump, and despite ending the month with a record of 12-13, the Giants were at the top of the Western Division as the first month came to an end. Like the flowers at Golden Gate Park, the Giants blossomed in May as they posted a record of 21-8. The Giants’ front line pitching was nearly untouchable as Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto, and Jeff Samardzija were a combined 11-2. The Giants surge continued until the All-Star Break, as they had the best record in baseball at 57-33, holding a six and half-game lead over the rival Los Angeles Dodgers. The All-Star Break turned into a bad break for the Giants, as they lost their first six games after the mid-summer classic, losing 11 of 13 overall. The Giants lineup was in a collective slump, as they struggled to come up with the big hit, while their bullpen struggled to protect leads. The Giants struggles continued in August, as they lost their top spot in the West, suffering through a stretch where they lost eight of ten games. The Giants bullpen continued to falter in September as Santiago Casilla lost his closer’s job, forcing Manager Bruce Bochy to go to a bullpen by committee, as seemingly every game the Giants led in the ninth was in jeopardy of slipping away. Posting a losing record once again in September, the Giants saw their hopes of winning the West slip away, but thanks to their 57 wins in the first half, they never fell out of the race for the Wild Card. In a three-way battle for two spots, the Giants won their final four games, including a three-game sweep of the Dodgers at AT&T Park to finish the season with a record of 87-75, one game ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals for the second Wild Card spot in the National League. While most of the team struggled in the second half of the season, Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto were immune, both finished among the best pitchers in the National League, with Cueto posting a record of 18-5, with a 2.79 ERA and 198 strikeouts. In contrast, Bumgarner finished 15-9, with a 2.74 ERA and 251 strikeouts. Meanwhile, Buster Posey was the Giants’ top hitter, with a .288 average, 14 home runs, and 80 RBI.
2016 Wild Card: Sweeping the Dodgers proved essential for the San Francisco Giants, as it allowed them to have Madison Bumgarner available for the Wild Card Game against the New York Mets at Citi Field, instead of being forced to use him in a possible tiebreak game. Bumgarner’s October mastery continued as he went the distance, allowing just four hits while striking out six. Noah Syndergaard was just as sharp for the Mets, as neither team was able to score for eight innings. Finally, in the ninth inning, the Giants broke through against Mets closer Jeurys Familia as Conor Gillaspie hit a three-run home run to deep right to give the Giants a 3-0 lead, as Bumgarner completed the shutout.
2016 NLDS: The San Francisco Giants moved on to face the Chicago Cubs in the Division Series. Like the Wild Card Game in New York, Game 1 of the NLDS was a classic pitcher’s duel as Johnny Cueto matched Jon Lester zero for zero until the eighth inning. This time, however, it would be the Giants who blinked as Javier Baez hit a home run to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead as Aroldis Chapman closed the game for the Cubs in the ninth inning. Jeff Samardzija got the call in Game 2 and struggled against his former team, allowing four runs in two innings as the Cubs won 5-3 to take a 2-0 series lead. The Giants had been in this situation before and refused to panic as the series shifted to San Francisco with Madison Bumgarner on the mound in Game 3. However, all AT&T Park was stunned as Bumgarner gave up a three-run home run to opposing pitcher Jake Arrieta in the second inning. Bumgarner would not allow another run, as the Giants rallied to take a 5-3 lead in the eighth inning. However, Sergio Romo faltered in the ninth as the Cubs tied the game and forced extra innings. The Giants bullpen would stiffen up and not allow the Cubs another hit, as they won the game 6-5 on back-to-back doubles by Brandon Crawford and Joe Panik in the 12th inning. Looking to force a fifth game back in Wrigley Field, the Giants got a terrific start from Matt Moore, who allowed just two runs on two hits in eight innings, while striking out ten as the Giants went to the ninth inning, leading 5-2. However, the Giants’ bullpen imploded in the ninth. Neither Derek Law, Javier Lopez nor Sergio Romo was able to get an out as the Cubs scored four runs to win the game 6-5 and eliminate the Giants ending their even-year magic. The Cubs would go on to win their first World Series since 1908.
2017: The San Francisco Giants hoped their struggles in off numbered years would come to an end after their streak of winning the World Series in even-numbered years came to an end in 2016. However, by the time April came to an end, the Giants were in a deep hole, with their best pitcher sidelined. The Giants season started on the road, losing five of six, before salvaging the final game against the San Diego Padres. The Giants would not play much better at home, splitting six games against the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies. Things only got worse during a road trip into Denver, as Madison Bumgarner injured his ribs and shoulders in a dirt bike accident during an off day. Bumgarner would miss most of the season, as the Giants rotation suffered. In just 17 starts, Madison Bumgarner would post a record of 4-9 with a 3.32 ERA. The Giants offense also suffered through injuries, and a power shortage as they had the fewest home runs as a team in the National League with 128 as Brandon Belt led the team with 18 home runs. After ending April in the last place at 9-17, the Giants went on a season-long tailspin, especially when they won a combined 18 games. The Giants lost season would see them finish with the worst record in baseball at 64-98.
2018: After nearly losing 100 games and finishing with the National League’s worst record, the San Francisco Giants had the desire to continue their odd-even trend of making the postseason in even years. Hoping for a boost, the Giants acquired Evan Longoria from the Tampa Bay Rays and Andrew McCutchen from the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Giants would suffer a significant injury at the start as Madison Bumgarner sustained a broken finger in Spring Training that would sideline him for the first two months. The Giants would thread water over their first 60 games, posting a 30-30 record when Bumgarner made his season debut on June 5th. Madison Bumgarner pitch well after coming off the disabled list, as the Giants posted an 18-10 record in June. Bumgarner finished the season with a record of 6-7 with a 3.26 ERA. The offense was an issue for the Giants, as they ranked second to last in the National League in the most offensive categories. The lack of offense would take a toll on San Francisco as the hovered near .500 most of the season. As August drew to a close, the Giants began realizing they would not make a run at the Wild Card and traded Andre McCutchen to the New York Yankees in a waiver deal. McCutchen had been the Giants’ top slugger with 15 home runs. Demonstrating the lack of power in San Francisco, Evan Longoria led the Giants in home runs with 16. The Giants began September with an 11-game losing streak, as they won just five games in the final month, posting a record of 73-89 to finishing in fourth place in the Western Division.
2019: As the season began, the San Francisco Giants were finishing a decade that saw them win three World Championships on a down note as they were a team in transition, with Bruce Bochy in his final season as manager after announcing plans to retire at season’s end. Madison Bumgarner was also in the last year of his contract as the Giants as the organization began to look towards rebuilding. Perhaps distracted by trade rumors, Bumgarner posted a record of 9-9 with a 3.90 ERA. Again the Giants’ offense ranked near the bottom in the major statistical category. In a season in which there was an unprecedented power surge, the Giants leading home run hitters were Kevin Pillar and rookie Mike Yastrzemski who hit 21 home runs. Mike Yastrzemski, the grandson of Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski, was acquired in a minor league deal was called up and May and was one of the Giants top players in the second half, batting .272 as he got a standing ovation at Fenway Park when the Giants played the Boston Red Sox in interleague series. The Giants toiled in last place much of the first half of the season. In July, they turned things around, partly due to the play of the younger Yaz, who had a walk-off home run on July 21st. The July run kept the Giants from selling off pending free agents like Bumgarner and Pillar. Likely at their peril as the waiver deals were now removed from August with a hard trade deadline set at the end of July. When August began, the Giants struggled, losing seven of nine. The Giants would finish the season in third place in the NL West with a record of 77-85. Late in the season, Bruce Bochy became the 11th manager in MLB history to reach 2,000 wins. Each of the other ten 2,000-win mangers is in the Hall of Fame.
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Page created on March 20, 2001. Last updated on June 27, 2020 at 4:20 pm ET.