SAN FRANCISCO -- Kris Bryant's final home run with the Chicago Cubs in the playoffs came against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The same can be said for his first postseason long ball in a Giants uniform.
Bryant made his presence felt Friday night in the biggest way possible, finishing the Giants' 4-0 Game 1 win over the Dodgers in the National League Division Series a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate. His solo shot in the seventh inning off Dodgers' ace Walker Buehler was the icing on the cake to his Giants playoff debut.
Prior to the MLB trade deadline, Giants fans were begging the front office for them to make a big move. This team might have been "ahead of schedule" but it was becoming more clear every game that this squad is a true World Series contender. Farhan Zaidi and Scott Harris delivered, bringing Bryant over from the Chicago Cubs after six-plus seasons in the Windy City.
Giants fans embraced Bryant from Day 1, and he made sure to heap praise on them after the win.
"It was great, as I expected," Bryant said. "I mean, our fans here have been great all year, and tonight was just another level too with the towels going everywhere, just black T-shirts everywhere."
Bryant gave the fans every reason to believe he was the perfect acquisition right away, too. While bouncing around the field defensively, Bryant hit .287 with six home runs and a .900 OPS his first month in San Francisco. However, from Sept. 2, through Oct. 3 -- the final game of the regular season -- Bryant hit just .237. He had a .321 slugging percentage and homered just once over that span.
With Brandon Belt and his 29 home runs out through at least the NLDS as he nurses a fractured left thumb, the Giants needed Bryant's power to return now more than ever. The Giants had four days off before returning to the field Friday night, and Bryant believes the time away was a perfect breather for the former NL MVP.
"I think everybody came out ready to go, rested mentally and physically," Bryant said. "I know I felt that. That was a huge advantage for us."
Bryant became the first player with at least three hits and a homer in his Giants playoff debut since Hall of Famer Mel Ott in 1933. His deep blast was a crushing blow to the Dodgers, one that knocked Buehler out of the game and left his mark on Giants fans forever.
"I think they're ready to go and ready to let out some of whatever was pent up from not even being able to come to the field last year, so it was nice to see them out there," Bryant said of Giants fans. "Like I said, we're going to need them the rest of the way and they were the 10th man tonight and that was huge for us."