As a San Francisco Giants fan, 2014 was a great freaking year. They won the World Series for the 3rd time in 5 years and cemented a dynasty in the modern game. There was a fast start to the season, a rut in the middle, and then a Fall surge to the title. We got to watch it all. Whether you saw them in Scottsdale, spent time on the shores of McCovey Cove, or just watched from the couch at home, all Giants fans will remember this past year as something special.
Here’s where I get to be corny. I’m going with the original idea of the 14 best moments from 2014. I know, I had to stretch far for that one. Someone else may have already beaten me to it, I don’t care. I want to relive what happened and I suspect you’ll enjoy reliving it too.
I have no ground rules for this list. A moment can be anything I want to shoehorn in just for the fun of it. It was just that kind of crazy, wonderful year. This will be split in to 2 parts. Today will be the regular season, Tuesday will be the playoffs. Everything will be in chronological order. All clips courtesy MLB and /or Youtube.
Click here for Part 2: The Posteseason.
March 31 – Opening Day comeback
The Giants wasted no time making the 2014 season exciting. Right away the team put together a comeback victory. After falling behind 6-2 and 7-3 to Arizona they put together a couple of rallys and started the year on a positive note. You didn’t want to look too much in to one game, but it felt like this team knew how to win right out of the gate.
Madison Bumgarner started and only lasted 4 innings. He allowed 4 runs but amazingly none of them were earned because of 2 errors by the infield to start the bottom of the 4th inning. The comeback started in the top of the 7th as Michael Morse singled off Brandon McCarthy to lead off the inning. Five pitches later McCarthy had 2 quick outs and Joaquin Arias was on 1st after a fielder’s choice. Ehire Adrianza then pinch hit and hooked a 3-2 pitch into the RF corner to score Arias. It began a streak of 5 consecutive hits with 2 outs.
That knocked McCarthy out and then Oliver Perez was gone after 3 straight hits and 2 more runs. Hunter Pence walked to drive in the tying run and the game was 7-7. Javier Lopez and Jean Machi kept the D-Backs scoreless the next 2 innings until Buster Posey made the difference in the top of the 9th with a 2-run home run deep in to the left field seats. Machi earned the first of his five wins to start the season and the Giants were off and running.
I couldn’t find great video of that so here’s Buster talking to the guys at Media Day a little while ago.
This is what I meant by squeezing something in. I lumped all of these together because there was a lot of early season magic at AT&T Park. Three different players won games for the Giants in walk-off fashion during the first month of the season.
Brandon Crawford delivered the first Splash Hit of 2014 on a Sunday afternoon against the Rockies.
Hector Sanchez ended a 4 hour and 54 minute game against the Dodgers on Jackie Robinson Day. That was a long night.
Brandon Hicks hit a 3-run homer to win a game after Cleveland intentionally walked Crawford ahead of him.
Here’s video of my favorite one. Splash Hits mean something special to me.
June 25 – Tim Lincecum’s no-hitter hex on the Padres
It was an afternoon like any other. A mid-week game between the suddenly struggling Giants and the punch-less Padres. Then Tim Lincecum reached back in to time and looked like a modern day version of his Cy Young winning 2009 self. He threw his 2nd career no-hitter and his 2nd in less than a calendar year against the same team. Lincecum started the game off with back-to-back swinging strikeouts. The first in a 7-pitch duel against Will Venable.
Lincecum struck out 6 Padres batters, all swinging. His ball darted and moved as he faced only one batter over the minimum. Chase Headley walked in the 2nd for the Padres only baserunner. After that, Lincecum went to a 3-ball count only three times. Hitters were off balance all day.
Not to be forgotten, Buster Posey backed up the little guy with a 4-for-4 day. That last hit was a double in the bottom of the 7th inning that drove in Lincecum who led off the inning with a single. Because, of course he did.
July 13 – The Battery Slam
“Anything you can do I can do better. I can do anything better than you.”
“No you can’t.”
“Yes I can.”
“No you can’t.”
“Yes I caaaaaaan!”
Buster Posey does it in the 5th, Madison Bumgarner follows in the 6th. These guys are so much fun.
August 26 – Madison Bumgarner’s 1-hitter starts a winning streak
This was a masterpiece. A performance that probably gets forgotten by many after the October run of Bumgarner. This game against the Rockies though, this was something else.
Bumgarner faced 28 batters, struck out 13, threw 103 pitches, and 80 were strikes. He went to a 3-ball count only once, and a 2-ball count 7 times. That second one amazes me. Justin Morneau doubled to lead off the 8th inning to spoil Bumgarner’s perfect game bid.
How did he respond? By striking out the next 3 Colorado hitters on 11 pitches. All swinging. It took 10 pitches to close it out and the Giants had the first of what would be 6-straight wins. It was a surgical performance from Bumgarner and it seemed to spark the team heading down the stretch. Here’s Bumgarner with some foreshadowing after that game.
September 9 – Joe Panik goes 5-for-5, Yusmeiro Petit throws a complete game against Arizona
We should all take a moment to be thankful that Dan Uggla was a member of the Giants this past year. Had he not been so terrible, Joe Panik may have been called up later and it could have cost the team a win here or there. Cheers to you Uggla!
The Giants scored runs in three different innings. Each time, a Joe Panik single was in the middle of it. Strangely, he didn’t score any runs though in the 5-1 victory. I mean, that’s hard to do, even on purpose.
Yusmeiro Petit did a great job as a spot starter all season and this was his finest of them all. He scattered 4 hits and only allowed 1 run for his second career complete game victory, both against the D-Backs. After a leadoff home run by Ender Inciarte in the top of the 4th, no other D-Backs runner got past first base. In all Petit only faced 29 batters, he erased 2 of the singles with double play grounders.
It was a good day in Giants land.
September 28 – Hunter Pence and the fans, Yes! Yes! Yes!
It was a chant we’d seen during the season. After the last game Hunter Pence took it to a whole new level. Even though the Giants clinched a Wild Card berth a few days prior, this is what sticks out in my mind at the end of the regular season. I’ll stop typing and let Hunter take over.
The playoff moments are in Part 2. There were probably a ton of moments from the season I may have missed here in Part 1. Feel free to leave your favorites in the comments below.
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