Giants

Five forgotten things about Angel Pagan's inside-the-park walk-off

Five forgotten things about Angel Pagan's inside-the-park walk-off

Programming note: Watch the re-air of Angel Pagan's 2013 inside-the-park walk-off homer against the Colorado Rockies tonight at 8 p.m. PT on NBC Sports Bay Area.

One of the wildest walk-offs in Giants history might not be possible today. 

Angel Pagan's game-winning inside-the-park homer against the Colorado Rockies in 2013 would look a bit different with the new dimensions at Oracle Park, and likely would have been a triple. Pagan's blast traveled more than 400 feet and bounced off the bottom of the second-to-last archway in Triples Alley, and all of that will still exist. But the play was possible because the speedy center fielder was able to take advantage of a strange bounce away from right fielder Michael Cuddyer.

Cuddyer chased the ball to center, where the walls will come in eight feet this season. The inside-the-parker would have ricocheted back off the center field wall in 2020, but seven years ago it spun onto the warning track, where Dexter Fowler made a relay throw from a patch of dirt that now will be part of the bullpens. 

Given how close the play was at the end, perhaps a slightly shorter throw from center or a friendlier bounce would have kept Pagan from scoring. Maybe Tim Flannery never sends him at all. 

But you know what? In 2013, Flannery made a hell of a decision and the athletic Pagan made him look like a genius, completing one of the more memorable regular season wins from the championship era. That game will air tonight at 8 p.m. NBC Sports Bay Area, and this is one where you truly have to stay to the end. As you're watching, here are five things you might have forgotten about that crazy day at Oracle Park ... 

Tim Flannery called his shot

The third base coach appeared on KNBR that very morning and talked quite a bit with Marty Lurie about inside-the-park close calls. Gregor Blanco, in particular, was someone who spoke often during his Giants career about how much he wanted to circle the bases. Lurie asked Flan if he was ready to send someone home. 

"Yeah, I am," he said. 

He talked about how the conditions had to be perfect, and they were later that afternoon. Pagan had stolen 29 bases and set an SF Giants record with 15 triples in his first season with the Giants and he always had a sense for the moment. He became the first Giant since 1931 to win a game on an inside-the-park homer and the first player in nine years to do it in a big league game. Pagan later said that when Flannery sends you, you know two things are going to happen.

"I'm going to score, and he's going to score with me," he said. 

Andres Torres had an all-time celebration

One thing everyone remembers about this game was Flannery willing Pagan down the line and going nuts as he slid in safely. 

But don't sleep on Andres Torres' celebration. He read the play the whole way and was onto the field quickly. Check out this photo ... it's Marco Scutaro (who was on deck), Brandon Crawford (who scored on the play) and Torres (who came from the dugout and hit Pagan before he could even get up):

Pagan ended up going on the DL

Pagan was worth 4.2 Wins Above Replacement in 2012 but never came close to matching those heights, mostly because of injuries. He had missed some time earlier in 2013 with a tight right hamstring and he strained the left one during the walk-off win. Pagan said later that the injury happened when he laid out for a ball in the outfield, but he felt his hamstring tighten up as he approached third on the homer. 

The Giants thought it was minor at first, and this was back when they used to let some guys sit on the bench for 6-7 days before ultimately putting them on the 15-day DL. On June 7, Pagan was put on the DL and Juan Perez was called up. Pagan had a couple of injections and tried to return a few weeks later, but he pulled up while running during a rehab game. Pagan had surgery the last week of June and didn't return until Aug. 30.

Bruce Bochy missed the ending

About half an hour before Pagan slid into the plate, Bochy was ejected for arguing a call for the second time that day. Bochy had argued a missed call in the sixth and another in the eighth, and he was ejected after the latter one, a phantom tag on Marco Scutaro at third that halted a rally. 

After the game, Bochy once again talked about how the game needed instant replay. That August, the commissioner's office announced that managers would get to challenge calls the next year. 

The ship was taking on a lot of water

Earlier that week, the Giants put Ryan Vogelsong on the DL with a broken finger and Santiago Casilla went on with a cyst in his knee that ultimately required surgery. The Giants were 27-22 after Pagan's walk-off and tied with the Diamondbacks and Rockies atop the NL West, but they would lose three of their next four and then go into one of their infamous June swoons.

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By the end of June they were three games under .500, and when they lost eight of nine to start July, it was just about over for a team that finished 76-86. Brian Sabean surprised everybody by standing pat at the trade deadline and holding players like Hunter Pence, Javier Lopez and Tim Lincecum, but there was a silver lining. 

Pence signed his massive extension on the final week of the regular season and Lincecum inked a two-year, $35 million contract in October. The Giants kept the gang together, and a year later they won their third title. 

Former Giant Randy Winn describes feeling of month-long hot streak

Former Giant Randy Winn describes feeling of month-long hot streak

A starting pitcher can take control of a game and singlehandedly lead his team to a win, but in general, it's hard for baseball players to will their team to victory day after day.

Starters pitch once every five days and position players know that even on a five-hit night, you're dependent on your own pitchers standing tall, and every time you reach base, you have to wait a couple innings for another chance to impact the game.

But every once in a while, a hitter gets so hot that it seems he's carrying his team for weeks at a time. The Giants last truly experienced this in 2018, when Brandon Crawford briefly thrust himself into the MVP race and earned an All-Star selection with an absurd stretch in May and June.

Buster Posey won the MVP award with his second half of 2012, and Melky Cabrera dragged the Giants to plenty of wins earlier that year before failing a PED test. In the first half of this century, Barry Bonds could carry the lineup for weeks, even seasons, at a time. 

Randy Winn experienced that after being traded to the Giants from the Mariners in 2005, and that year he had his own hot streak that to this day is one of the most impressive in franchise history. Over the final 30 games of that season, Winn had 54 hits in 123 at-bats, good for a .439 batting average. He hit 11 homers, 13 doubles and three triples, with a slugging percentage of .862 and OPS of 1.331. 

On this week's Giants Insider Podcast, Winn recalled what it felt like to get that hot for such a long period of time. 

"Nothing felt different -- everything just felt really, really easy and really slow," Winn said. "Whenever I felt like I wanted to take a pitch, the pitcher would throw a ball. If in my mind I was thinking, you know what, he might throw me a changeup, and he would throw me a changeup and it was very hittable. When anybody describes 'the zone' or being on fire, what they say is always the same: Everything was really slow, I was really relaxed, and my mind was really clear.

"When I think back on that time or other times when I was hitting really well, those are always the things that I remember. I didn't feel different, I wasn't really doing anything different. It just feels like you're in control of everything."

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Winn was having a solid season to that point, with a .273 average and .742 OPS. He opened September with eight hits in a three-game sweep of the Diamondbacks and never looked back, finishing the year with a .306 average. Winn had 17 multi-hit games in September, including three four-hit games. His 51 hits that month set a San Francisco Giants record that Cabrera tied in May of 2012. 

"It was a great situation for me," Winn said of the midseason trade that brought him to San Francisco. "Coming home, still live in the Bay Area, grew up in the Bay Area, my wife is from the Bay Area, our parents at that time lived in the Bay Area, so for us it was a homecoming and it was just great to be back home."

[RELATED: Why "Champ" Timmy is the best version of former Giants ace]

On the podcast, Winn also talks about how he would handle this layoff, what it was like playing college basketball with Steve Nash, what made Bonds and Albert Pujols so great, and much more. 

Giants fans vote 'Champ' Tim Lincecum as best version of former ace

lincecum-bullpen-2010playoffs-ap.jpg
AP

Giants fans vote 'Champ' Tim Lincecum as best version of former ace

You the fans have spoken.

We asked you to designate your favorite version of former Giants ace Tim Lincecum, and the social media response was overwhelming.

Lincecum was a part of all three World Series-winning teams in 2010, 2012, and 2014 in San Francisco.

During his first postseason run in 2010, Lincecum put together an impressive stretch of performances, solidifying himself as a franchise icon.

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He kicked off the 2010 MLB Playoffs by throwing a 119-pitch shutout with 14 strikeouts against the Atlanta Braves in Game 1, propping up an offense that only mustered one run of support to give the Giants a leg up in the five-game division series.

He followed that effort up by striking out eight Phillies in a Game 1 road win in Philadelphia, when Cody Ross’ two home runs led the Giants to a 4-3 win.

[RELATED: Forbes values Giants as worth $3.1B, fifth-highest in MLB]

Lincecum wrapped up the postseason by earning two World Series wins, including the series clincher in Game 5, striking out 10 Texas Rangers over eight innings as the Giants won their first Fall Classic since the franchise relocated to the west coast in 1958.

Although Lincecum earned plenty of nicknames during his legendary career in San Francisco, “Champ” definitely has a nice ring to it.