PROGRAMMING NOTE: NBC Sports Bay Area is looking back at the Giants' 60 Memorable Moments since the franchise moved from New York to San Francisco. Tune into at 6pm to see the next two moments you can vote on! Then, after the Giants and Marlins conclude, tune into Postgame Live to see which moment will move on to the next round! Make your vote count!
1. Brandon Belt's 18th inning homer against the Nationals in 2014 NLDS (13-time winner -- Barry Bonds' two-home run, seven-RBI game in Giants' 102nd win of 1993 season)
(From Alex Pavlovic)
By the end of an 18-inning win over the Nationals in Game 2 of the 2014 NLDS, the Giants were drained in every way. It would be understandable if some of them have few solid memories of the six-hour, 23-minute marathon game, but Brandon Belt will never forget the details. His solo shot off Tanner Roark in the top of the 18th was the difference in a 2-1 win. Four years later, the moment is still fresh in his mind, from his preparation for the at-bat to the emphatic bat drop:
(From Brandon Belt)
"I remember chugging a Red Bull. It was late into the night and that's tough, it's mentally draining and physically draining to be in a game like that, where you're giving everything you've got to win a baseball game. I was drained at that moment to say the least. I remember chugging a Red Bull and going out there and thinking, 'I'm just going to try and get on base and see what happens.' I remember just not trying to do too much and he gave me a pitch that I could handle, that was kind of in my happy zone. It felt like one of the first home runs I ever hit. It's like you're in Little League and you hit a home run and it's like you're in a dream and it's not real life -- it was kind of the same way.
"We had just played so long and it was such a big moment in the game, and the fact that I was able to come through and help us win with such a big hit, it was surreal to me. I felt like I was floating around the bases. I think (the bat drop) was relief, more than anything. When I do that I don't really know I do it. It was really just relief. The way the game was going, we had to assume it was over after that. The bullpen had done so well and everyone was so tired. It was going to be tough for (the Nationals) to come back after that.
"We were just ready to go home. We had a long flight after that. We just put so much effort into it and all the guys did so great. Pablo came up with a big hit in the ninth inning and Petit throwing (six shutout) innings. For me, that was the pivotal game of that entire playoffs. We were playing the best team in the NL and to be able to come home up 2-0 was huge."
2. Giants overcome 7 1/2 game deficit, stun Padres on final day of 2010 season to win NL West)
(From Tim Flannery, Giants third base coach from 2007 to 2014 and current NBC Sports Bay Area analyst)
On July 29th 2010, we were in Los Angeles about to play a series against the Dodgers. Our team had been floundering somewhat that summer, and after the All-Star break with the Padres leading the West by 7 1/2 games, Bruce Bochy called a pregame meeting in the clubhouse.
He rolled out three TV monitors, had the team gather close and said “The team we are chasing is about to stumble, we need to take advantage of it…look around this room, together we have a chance to do something special, something that has never been done, something you will be remembered for.”
Boch then turned on the video. With the team wondering what the skipper was doing, the movie Braveheart came on the screens. Then the words came “What you do in this life will ring on through eternity.”
In a few minutes, the team came roaring out of the clubhouse onto the field yelling “Freedom” and we were fired up. We won that night, we won lots of nights the rest of August and September.
In the meantime, the Padres, who we were chasing, lost 10 in a row and we were relentless in making the final push and overtook San Diego the last week of the season. With an entire season now riding on a three-game series against the Padres, we only needed one more win to win the West.
Three crazy sold out games at AT&T would decide history. We lost Friday and Saturday, and had to play for the division title on the last day of the season. Jonathan Sanchez would start the final game. Sanchez pitched great with 5 shutout innings, but it was his bat that he wasn’t known for that changed everything.
With one out in the 3rd inning, Jonathan came to the plate, he looked down at me in the 3rd base coach’s box, I relayed the sign I received from Boch, I gave him the take sign. Jonathan stepped in the batters box and on the first pitch from Mat Latos, Sanchez swings and hits a ball in Triples Alley. As he rounds second base headed my way, he roars in with a standup triple. The place went nuts. I said “You were supposed to have been taking, but you did great, way to go.”
Freddy Sanchez singles him home, then Aubrey Huff doubles Freddy home. We were ahead 2-0. Jonathan kept the momentum by pitching 5 shutout innings.
In the 6th, the great bullpen took over. Casilla, Ramirez, López and Romo pitch into the 8th. In the bottom of the 8th, Buster Posey hit a huge home run that would make it very difficult for the Padres to come back. Now up 3-0, Brian Wilson comes in and finishes off the Padres and the party began.
A remarkable run to win the division on the last day of the season didn’t end until we ran the board winning the first World Championship in San Francisco history. Since the meeting in LA, July 29th, 7 1/2 games back, we went 30-10 to win it all.
I still can hear the words “What you do in this life will echo through eternity.” History will prove that a bunch of misfits who couldn’t even get the “take” sign right, were a very special bunch that became one hell of a team.