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.
Many asked about Torres photo, it was taken by Jeff Chiu of AP. Ezra Shaw of Getty caught a great Flannery moment: pic.twitter.com/AqNTszWU3u— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) May 26, 2013
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 on this photo: "Andres almost beat me to the plate. He almost slid in ahead of me." pic.twitter.com/rPgdJjMFSj— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) May 27, 2013
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.