The even-year run of the San Francisco Giants was a fun thing to believe in (or as the team’s hashtag this postseason said, “#BeliEVEN) but alas it came to an end with a crushing loss to the Chicago Cubs in Game 4 of the National League Division Series.
This was a run spanning three championships and many memories of improbable and amazing accomplishments.
2010’s defining moments
NLDS Game 1
The first night of the Giants “dynasty” was this game against the Atlanta Braves. Tim Lincecum struck out a franchise-record 14 in his postseason debut in a 1-0 victory.
NLCS Game 1
The Giants were going against Roy Halladay, who had thrown a no-hitter against the Cincinnati Reds in his previous start, and the two-time defending NL champion Philadelphia Phillies. Cody Ross, a late-season waiver claim, hit two homers off Halladay -- one to put them ahead initially and another to put them ahead for good. He’d go on to win NLCS MVP honors.
World Series Game 5
Lincecum and Cliff Lee were locked in a scoreless tie until the seventh inning, when Edgar Renteria snapped it with a three-run home run. The Giants would go on to clinch their first World Series title since 1954.
NLDS Game 5
The Giants had won two straight elimination games on the road after being down 2-0. The game was scoreless into the fifth when the Giants scored six times, Buster Posey capped it with a grand slam against Reds pitcher Mat Latos (who had previously expressed disdain for the team with the San Diego Padres in 2010). The Giants won handily to advance to the NLCS.
NLCS Game 5
Down 3-games-to-1 entering Game 5, the Giants yet again found themselves on the brink of elimination. Barry Zito (4.15 ERA in the regular season) pitched 7⅔ scoreless innings in St. Louis for his first career scoreless start in the postseason. The Giants would win the next two games to win the series.
World Series Game 1
Justin Verlander finished second in the AL Cy Young voting, but he couldn’t stop Pablo Sandoval, who registered the ninth three-homer game in postseason history (two of which came against Verlander). That set the tone as the Giants swept.
Brandon Crawford hit only two home runs in his final 60 games, but picked a right time to snap that, hitting a fourth-inning grand slam that lifted the Giants to a win over the Pirates and into the NLDS. Crawford’s first (and so far only) postseason home run mimicked his first regular-season one -- a go-ahead grand slam on the road in an NL Central ballpark.
NLDS Game 2
The Giants trailed 1-0 with two outs in the ninth inning when Nationals manager Matt Williams pulled Jordan Zimmermann for closer Drew Storen. Posey singled and Sandoval doubled, bringing in the tying run. The game went 18 innings, matching the longest in postseason history. Brandon Belt, who was 0-for-6 to that point, homered to give the Giants the win and a 2-0 series lead that they’d finish in four games.
NLCS Game 5
The Giants trailed the Cardinals 3-2 in the eighth inning, but rallied for a run to tie. In the bottom of the ninth, the Giants put two men on for left fielder Travis Ishikawa.
The Giants had drafted Ishikawa in the 21st round in the 2002 draft. He played parts of four seasons with the big-league club before bouncing to five different teams in free agency and on waivers. He signed as a free agent with the Giants in April after starting the season with the Pirates, and returned to the majors with San Francisco at the end of July.
Ishikawa won the pennant with a three-run home run that put the Giants into the World Series.
World Series Game 7
The story of Game 7 was the Giants' two-man bullpen after Tim Hudson allowed two early runs. First, Jeremy Affeldt, who has among the best postseason numbers of all-time, pitched 2⅓ scoreless innings. Then Madison Bumgarner followed with five scoreless frames, getting Salvador Perez to pop up with the tying run on third base, closing out a run of three titles in five seasons.
It looked like these Giants were headed on the same path as their predecessors, as Conor Gillaspie’s three-run home run off Jeurys Familia (who allowed one home run in the regular season) and Bumgarner’s shutout pushed the Giants past the Mets and into the NLDS.
But their magic and the even-year run came to an end against the Cubs. Javier Baez’s eighth-inning homer off Johnny Cueto was the difference in a 1-0 Game 1 win for the Cubs (remember, the Giants' run began with a 1-0 win).
The Cubs went on to finish the Giants off with a stunning victory in Game 4, scoring four runs in the ninth inning.