Giants

POLL: Giants Memorable Moments -- Belt's 18th inning HR against Nats vs Zito, Vogey save 2012 NLCS

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AP

POLL: Giants Memorable Moments -- Belt's 18th inning HR against Nats vs Zito, Vogey save 2012 NLCS

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 Giants Pregame Live at 6pm to see the next two moments you can vote on! Then, after the Giants and Reds 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 (Defeated Cody Ross' two home runs off Roy Halladay in Game 1 of the 2010 NLCS)

(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."

VS.

2. Barry Zito and Ryan Vogelsong save 2012 NLCS with dominant outings in Game 5 & 6 against Cardinals

(From Ryan Vogelsong)

Game 5
Barry was always a focused guy on game day, but on this day I noticed Z had a very different look to him. He seemed to be locked in mentally from the moment he walked into the clubhouse. I knew after not pitching the way he wanted to in the Divison Series, he was looking forward to another chance. 

It was colder then normal that night in St. Louis. With it being an elimination game it was all hands on deck in the bullpen. Being in line to start Game 6,  I was going be a last resort guy, but I was in the bullpen ready to go if my number was called. Barry was in some jams early, but he kept grinding and making pitches. Some outstanding defensive plays and the energy they gave was starting to lay the ground work for Barry to get locked in. A huge double play and Barry’s famous bunt for a hit seemed to be the plays that got him right where he wanted to be. While hogging all the heat from the heater in the bullpen, I watched him throw one of the best games I had seen from him in a Giants uniform. And it was just what the doctor ordered. Another elimination win and back to San Francisco for Game 6.

Game 6
I was in a very good place mentally going into the game. The last four innings of Game 2 was the best I had ever thrown the ball in a major league game up to that point. And after one of the best side sessions of my life using the same thoughts, I felt like I was never more ready. The gameplan I used in Game 2 was the same for Game 6, it just came down to execution. 

As I was warming up in the bullpen, James Hetfield from Metallica, was doing the honors of announcing 'play ball' from behind home plate. Being a huge Metallica fan it was pretty special when we walked out on the field wearing his Vogelsong #32 jersey. What came next sent my adrenaline through the roof. James said some words that I will never forget. “LETS KICK SOME CARDINAL ASS!” Then added “lets play ball”! My thoughts after that were ‘That’s it, that’s all I need to hear. This game is over for them right now’.  My thoughts were right on. After striking out the side in the first inning, I knew I was locked in! It was one of those night were I felt like I could have closed my eyes and thrown the pitch were I wanted to. Some big offensive production took the edge off a little and allowed me to go to work. I didn’t give up my first hit until the 5th and had 9 strikeouts, a career high, all in the biggest game of my life. We won the game without a lot of tension and I happily passed the baton to Matt Cain for Game 7.

VOTE HERE:

Giants power past Rockies to salvage split

Giants power past Rockies to salvage split

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Brandon Belt snapped a seventh-inning tie with a three-run homer and the San Francisco Giants beat the Colorado Rockies 9-5 on Sunday.

Nick Hundley added a solo shot later in the seventh for the Giants, who salvaged a four-game split after dropping the first two games of the series. Gorkys Hernandez hit a two-run homer in the fifth.

Belt connected for his 12th home run this season and fifth in seven games to give San Francisco an 8-5 lead. He and Hundley both homered off left-hander Jake McGee.

Belt came to the plate with Hernandez aboard on a leadoff single and Evan Longoria on following a one-out walk by reliever Bryan Shaw (1-2).

Colorado lost for the third time in 11 road games this month.

The Rockies trailed 5-4 going into the seventh before Nolan Arenado singled home a run off winner Sam Dyson (2-0).

San Francisco rallied from a 4-1 deficit.

Hernandez homered in the fifth off starter Tyler Anderson to make it 4-3. An inning later, the Giants took a 5-4 lead on Kelby Tomlinson's two-out, two-run triple off Shaw.

The Rockies trailed 1-0 going into the fourth when Trevor Story's RBI double highlighted a two-run inning.

Colorado sent eight batters to the plate in a two-run fifth, chasing starter Ty Blach.

The Giants took an early lead when Buster Posey tripled and scored on Longoria's sacrifice fly in the first. Posey's triple was the ninth of his career and first since Sept. 10, 2016.

Arenado's RBI in the seventh was his 80th against the Giants. The only active players with more are Adrian Gonzalez (85) and Matt Kemp (91).

Arenado was 3 for 5 and finished 8 for 18 in the series. He has reached base safely in 28 of his last 29 games and 39 of 42 overall.

SECOND CHANCE?

With two Giants second basemen on the disabled list, veteran third baseman Pablo Sandoval took grounders at second Sunday morning. He played two-thirds of an inning at second for Boston in April 2017. "He surprises me how quick his feet are and he's pretty good around the bag," manager Bruce Bochy said.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Giants: OF Andrew McCutchen was out of the lineup with a bruised knee and is day to day. ... 2B-OF Alen Hanson (left hamstring strain) won't travel with the team to Houston. Hanson is eligible to come off the disabled list Wednesday but is a few days behind his projected return, Bochy said.

UP NEXT

Rockies: RHP German Marquez (2-2, 5.15 ERA) will pitch Monday's series opener in Los Angeles against the Dodgers. The 23-year-old is 2-2 with a 2.25 ERA in five road starts.

Giants: LHP Andrew Suarez (1-3, 4.88) starts Tuesday's series opener in Houston against the defending World Series champions. The 25-year-old rookie has struck out 28 and walked five in 27 2/3 innings.

A tip from two longtime teammates has Brandon Crawford in All-Star form

A tip from two longtime teammates has Brandon Crawford in All-Star form

SAN FRANCISCO — Nobody does nostalgia quite like the Giants. They know they have a fan base largely committed to the familiar names, and a clubhouse that embraces a reunion no matter what the original exit looked like. 

Often, those second runs in San Francisco lead to results on the field, too, but sometimes they’re hard to notice. Take Brandon Crawford, for example. He’s been a mainstay in the middle of the infield, but when he suffered through a brutal April, he ended up benefitting from two longtime teammates who played most of last year elsewhere. 

In the midst of a slump that had him batting below .200 at the end of April, Crawford was told by Pablo Sandoval and Gregor Blanco that they remembered him holding his hands higher in previous seasons. They were right. 

“I had looked at a ton of video before that,” he said. “(It’s) just kind of getting my hands up and into the right slot by the time I start my swing. It’s not a huge adjustment. I’m talking like a couple of inches higher, so it was kind of hard to see on video.”

A couple of inches have made a world of difference for a player who now looks like he could be headed back to the All-Star Game. Crawford is once again keeping his front shoulder in and squaring up pitches. He had three hits in a 9-4 win over the Rockies on Saturday and he has an MLB-high 31 in May. He’s batting .449 this month, raising that average from .189 to .302. There isn’t a full-time NL shortstop within 30 points of that batting average, and Crawford’s defense has long made him one of the standards at the position in the National League. 

The recognition may come later. For now, the Giants are just happy to have another force in a lineup that beat down Jon Gray on Saturday and on many days can look like one of the deepest in the league. It helps when Crawford, who generally hits a bit lower in the lineup, is going like this. He had a two-run double early and then a two-run homer as the Giants pulled away. The multi-hit game was his ninth of the month. 

“April was obviously a tough month,” Crawford said. “Hitting .189 for an entire month is tough, but I didn’t really waver in my confidence a whole lot. I figured I would be able to bounce back and still have a good season. I’ve done it before. I’ve been through it before.”

His manager repeated that mantra early and often as reporters asked about Crawford and other struggling Giants in April. 

“It’s just a case of a good hitter that’s got his stroke and he’s got his timing,” Bochy said. “Like a few guys, he got off to a slow start, but we said they’ll get their numbers back to where they normally are. Now, they’ve exceeded that.”

Crawford has never hit .300 for a full season. He has never even hit over .275, but this run flirting with .500 for a few weeks has helped keep the Giants afloat. They had 17 hits on Saturday while getting production up and down the line, and that’s when they’re at their best. 

“Overall, we’re going to have a really good-hitting team,” said Brandon Belt, who also has All-Star numbers. “We’re going to run into some guys that can shut us down, but that’s the case for anybody. But I think overall, on a day to day basis, you’ll see a pretty good-hitting team.”

On Saturday, that depth turned a tight early contest into a boat race. The only drama in the late innings was whether Crawford would became the first Giant since 1991 to hit for the cycle at home. He was a triple shy when he walked up in the eighth. He struck out. Did Crawford know what was at stake?

“Yeah,” he said. “Probably a little too much. I kind of got out of my approach. It happens.”