This season I will be rolling out a “This Week In San Francisco Giants History” every Wednesday. It will be fun to look back on some memorable moments in Giants history so I hope you enjoy these glimpses into the past.
April 5, 2010 – The Beginning Of A Golden Era In San Francisco
Coming off an 88 win campaign in 2009, the 2010 Giants were expected to be a competitive bunch. After all, they were returning the 2-time, back-to-back Cy Young Award winner in Tim Lincecum. Don’t forget about Pablo Sandoval either, in 2009 he finished 2nd in the NL in batting with a .330 average.
Things were looking up for the ball club heading into 2010 and Opening Day did not disappoint. The Giants began the season in Houston against the Astros. This was back when the Astros were still an NL team. 2010 was the start of a current streak of 10-straight seasons the Giants have started on the road.
Reigning Cy Young award winner Tim Lincecum got the ball for the Giants and Roy Oswalt took the hill for the Astros.
The first inning went by with no action but Timmy did manage to strike out 2 Astros hitters in the bottom of the first.
In the second, the Giants broke through with their first runs of 2010. Aubrey Huff started things off with a base hit to right field. Mark DeRosa followed that with a walk and Bengie Molina drove a liner to left field to score Huff for the first run of the season.
John Bowker followed that with a single of his own to left field and the game summary on Baseball Reference says Molina moved from first to third on the play. Now, I’m not questioning their accuracy, it’s just tough to picture Molina going first to third on a ball to left field. Maybe it was a hard play, I don’t know. If you’re curious, I will link to the YouTube video of the whole game below. It’s not an easy watch with how blurry it was, even in 2010.
Back to the game. With Molina on 3rd and Bowker on 1st, Juan Uribe hit a fly ball to deep right center field to score Molina on a sacrifice fly and extend the Giants lead to 3-0. Again, I’m going off the game summary here, but if they say Molina did all this, I believe them.
This gave Lincecum a lead, and that was pretty much all she wrote. Timmy pitched 7 solid innings without allowing a run. The most batters he faced in any inning was five in the 6th inning when he allowed 2 singles with 1 out, and then retired Hunter Pence (Hey, I know that guy!) on a weak grounder and Carlos Lee on a foul pop out.
Lincecum finished with 7 K’s in those 7 innings. Six of the seven strikeouts were swinging, which was a Timmy specialty when he was on. Lincecum finished his outing strong by striking out the last 2 batters he faced in the bottom of the 7th inning.
The Giants were able to extend their lead to 5-0 on an Edgar Renteria double and a DeRosa solo home run before things started to get interesting in the bottom of the 8th. Sergio Romo danced around 2 singles to retire Pence on a foul pop with 2 on and 2 out.
In the 9th, Brandon Medders took the ball first and proceeded to give the Astros hope. Carlos Lee singled to lead off the 9th followed by a Geoff Blum double. Medders did retire Pedro Feliz on a groundout, but the shutout was gone as Lee trotted home with the Astros first run.
After JR Towles doubled off Medders to drive Blum in, Bruce Bochy had seen enough. He called for closer Brian Wilson to get the final outs. Wilson delivered, first striking out Tommy Manzella, and then getting pinch-hitter Jason Michaels to ground out to 2nd base and secure the 5-2 victory.
The Giants had won game 1 of 92 that season and were on their way towards an epic run of greatness. They, and us, just didn’t know it yet.