The Giants had just won the division by 8 games and looked poise to make some noise in the playoffs. An old friend in Dusty Baker and the Reds had different plans of their own for the Giants in the first round. After taking the first 2 games in San Francisco the Reds looked ready to send the Giants packing for an early exit in the playoffs.
With a change in the first round format this season the first 2 games were played in San Francisco and the last 3 games were played in Cincinnati for the best of 5 first round series. No team had ever come back from 0-2 and won the final 3 games on the road to advance.
With Tim Linceum struggling he was demoted to the bullpen. In his newfound bullpen role, Lincecum would find his footing again and would be a valuable bullpen pitcher throughout the playoffs.
The stage was set for the Giants to make history. Hunter Pence, a mid season acquisition from the Phillies stepped up and gave the speech that saved the Giants season.
Third base coach Tim Flannery posted on his facebook page what he could remember from the heart felt speech. “get in here, everyone get in here..look into each other eyes..now! look into each others eyes, I want one more day with you, it’s the most fun, the best team I have ever been on said the Reverend Hunter Pence. ” and no matter what happens we must not give in, we owe it to each other, play for each other, I need one more day with you guys, I need to see what Theriot (jerry) will wear tomorrow, I want to play defense behind Vogelsong because he’s never been to the playoffs..play for each other not yourself, win each moment, win each inning, it’s all we have left”…………for me an old coach it moved me like I have never been moved before…purity, real, passion, soul. the last of the holdouts this Pence..no arrows being shot, no hey look at me, no spotlight on me, no dance but “play for each other”…honor the game the game honors you..don’t know where and when it ends, but tonight I was proud to be together as a team, in a hostile environment, with just us..brothers that play for the name on the front, not the name on the back.
The Giants would go on to capture game 3 in extra innings and force game 4. The Giants raced out to 6-0 lead in game 5 thanks to a Buster Posey grand slam and just like that, they made history.
All playoffs long it felt as if the Giants played better on the edge with their backs against the wall. The Giants quickly fell behind 3-1 against the defending champion St. Louis Cardinals. What happenned next was truly destiny for the Giants.
Barry Zito, the 127 million dollar bust for the Giants was set to start game 5 to try and save the Giants season. Many people were already writing the Giants Obituary. Zito came out in the game 5 with everything to prove. Not only was it the biggest game of the season but it was the biggest game of Barry Zito’s career. Zito looked like his old self out there and was simply masterful. He pitched 7 and 2/3 innings of shut out baseball while striking out 6 and allowing just 6 hits in the Giants 5-0 victory.
The Giants forced the series back to San Francisco for game 6 and won in the pouring rain in game 7 behind Matt Cain and Sergio Romo. Just like that San Francisco became a team of destiny. To go through 2 epic playoff comebacks in the same year is truly remarkeable.
Barry Zito started and won game 1 of the world series behind a record setting night by Pablo Sandoval who hit 3 home runs.
The Giants would go on to sweep the Detroit Tiger to win their 2nd championship in 3 years. This Giants team is truly special and has all the makings to be a factor for years to come.