Months of disbelief from every corner of the baseball world finally led to the unmistakable truth about these San Francisco Giants.
They really are championship material.
Yet the kind of magic that happened at raucous Oracle Park on Sunday, when the Giants won the National League West title, appeared out of nowhere.
It was a long, sometimes harrowing journey that led to an impossible title win over the San Francisco Padres. The unexpected path to the glory of the Giants included a few forks in the road and obstacles along the way. None was enough to allow the Dodgers to become division champions for the ninth time in a row.
Pitcher Logan Webb will be long remembered for his starring role on Sunday, when his seven strong innings and the first home run of his career highlighted an 11-4 victory on the final day of the regular season. But not to be forgotten are the many magical moments that pave the way for a franchise-record 107 wins and a division crown by the shortest margin.
After all, Webb might not get to enjoy a game for Sunday’s age if Mike Tauchman doesn’t climb the Dodger Stadium wall in May to rob Albert Pujols of a game-winning home run.
Dominic Lyon may not get the title-winning record and victoriously embrace Buster Posey on Sunday if Wilmer Flores doesn’t blast a game-winning homer, a ninth inning from Dodgers Kenley Jensen in July.
And of course, manager Gabe Kapler doesn’t get to grab the microphone to celebrate the division win with the crowd if Lamonte Wade Jr. doesn’t hit a pinch-hit, game-winning homer in the ninth against the A in August. Is.
Still trying to figure out how the Giants conquered the West? In chronological order, here are 10 games that were turning points for the Giants that might help you understand:
May 28: Tauchman’s Takeaway
Giants 8, Dodgers 5 (10 innings)
Touchman withdraws walk-off! I pic.twitter.com/gRCjUOqPFL
— mlb (@MLB) May 29, 2021
The Giants were inches away from a disastrous loss in Los Angeles, but left fielder Mike Touchman leapt over the fence to catch Albert Pujols’ walk-off home run in the ninth inning.
Reliever Tyler Rogers surrendered a game-tying homer to pinch hitter Austin Barnes to a three-run homer when Pujols launched as a game-winner.
Evan Longoria’s two-run double was then a big blow in the 10th inning of the Dodgers’ three-run double by Dodgers close Kenley Jensen who won it. The victory from behind pulled the Giants into a first-place match with the Dodgers.
Quote: “Sometimes the ball goes in, sometimes it doesn’t, and at that point it does. I’m just here to make plays for the boys.” — Mike Tauchman
June 23: After further review, the Giants win
Giants 9, Angels 3 (13 innings)
You have to see it to believe it. Fireworks were set off in Anaheim while the Angels dropped on the field to celebrate the victory over the Giants.. until a quick replay review ruled that Buster Posey had indeed fired Jose Lagares to end the 12th inning. was tagged.
Then, in the 13th with the Angels employing an outfielder on catcher and a pitcher in left field, the Giants exploded for seven. Not only did 13 innings mark the longest game since the runners-on-second rule was established, but the Giants had not scored seven runs in an extra innings in 81 years.
The big blow in this victory was Mike Touchman’s three-run home run – when he was just one MLB record away from tying with his sixth strikeout of the game.
Lost in Madness was a pitching duel between Shohei Ohtani and Kevin Gossman, who conceded a run each in the seventh inning. And, with Ohtani in the lineup, the Angels became the first AL team to drop a designated hitter in a game in which a National League team used one.
Remember that saying there’s always a chance that you’ll see something you’ve never seen before at a baseball game? Well, you have proof.
Quote: “Did you pitch in this game?” After about 5 hours of play, Gabe Kapler jokingly asked Gossman.
July 21: Flores helps dodge the Giants
Giants 4, Dodgers 2
The Giants held on to their rivals for the 53rd day in a row, with Wilmer Flores’ brilliant two-run home run going to Kenley Jensen in the Dodgers’ close ninth inning.
The Giants was almost as important as Tyler Rogers’ close to the redemption game. The submarine vowed to have “a celebratory Bud Light” to save the night after the Dodgers surrendered a walk-off three-run to Homer by Will Smith.
Flores, who Kapler said the Giants have had as clutch as any hitter over the past two years, launched a 406-foot Jensen cutter into the left field bleachers.
Quote: “I was looking for something right where he threw it. Some hard and some up.” — Wilmer Flores
22 July: Another great rally
Giants 5, Dodgers 3
No one realized it at the time, but we were introduced to the real start of “Late Night LaMonte,” when Lamonte Wade Jr. hit a game-winning two-run single, suddenly drawing the Dodgers closer to Kenley Jensen.
Wade’s heroism made life difficult for Jenson and helped the Giants extend their division lead from LA to three games. There was a loud shoutout when Jenson was replaced while flying the lead for the second straight night.
Things should have ended very differently. Darin Roof was decided to test his swing with a base load on the 3-2 pitch, although replays showed he had gone around. Instead of a game-ending strikeout, Roof drew a game-tying walk.
Quote: “What we did over the last two nights against one of the closest guys to the game really says a lot about this team’s tough, always grinding attitude.” Darin Roof
July 27: Dodger blew it up… again
Giants 2, Dodgers 1
Fly saves. Errant throws. The Dodgers have found ways to crumble against the Giants this season in a clutch.
The Giants benefited from another late-inning Dodgers blunder when a wrong throw from Los Angeles first baseman Cody Bellinger in the eighth inning allowed Buster Posey to score the winning run.
Trying to turn on double play, Bellinger fired a throw high from the screen behind third base and Posey trampled home as the Oracle Park crowd of 32,878 cleared it as LA fell three games behind.
Quote: “We were all screaming and high-fiving and stuff and happy that he threw the ball the way he did and we were able to score.” – Logan Webb on Bellinger’s Game-Ending Error
August 5: More ‘Late Night Lamonte’ heroics
Giants 5, Diamondbacks 4 (10 innings)
Lamonte Wade Jr. added to his rapidly growing late-night resume when he delivered a two-out, two-strike, two-run, game-tying single in the ninth inning at Arizona.
Trailing 4–0, the Giants rallied for the tie and then won it in the 10th inning on Chris Bryant’s RBI single of .500 to go into a season-high 29 games.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the first time since 1993 that the Giants won by four or more runs in the ninth inning.
Quote: “We had no business winning that game. But I’ve been part of a few teams that do well with their backs against the wall later in the game and this team definitely has.” — Chris Bryant
August 21: Wade blasts
Giants 6, A of 5
Lamonte Wade Jr. Arrives in a Clutch! I
— mlb (@MLB) 21 August 2021
Crossbay two laps away from opponent A’s disappointing defeat? Never mind, when Lamonte Wade Jr. is on the plate.
Wade was sent off for a pinch hit to end San Francisco 5-4 and linked for a two-run homer in the ninth inning as the Giants rallied for a much-needed victory. Not only did the win stop a three-game losing streak, it left the Giants 35 games to over .500 and extended their division lead over the Dodgers to 1 1/2 games.
The Giants scored four home runs against Oakland, including a pair of Darin Roof and Brandon Belt in the seventh inning to set the stage for Wade’s eventual winner.
Quote: “It was such a good game. Our offense was being able to come from behind and put together some real strong batsmen and I just wanted to follow that up and do the same thing.” — Lamonte Wade Jr.
August 22: Giants make history, A’S . demoralize
Giants 2, 1 of A
A day after Wade’s game-winning pinch-hit homer, Donovan Solano also made a pinch delivery for the Giants. Solano beat AK reliever AJ Puck by two runs to give San Francisco another surprise victory.
Solano’s home run not only helped the Giants to baseball’s first 80 wins, it turned out to be historic. His homer made the Giants the first team in MLB history to pinch-hit homers to erase a deficit and take the lead in back-to-back games in the eighth inning or later.
In addition to extending the Giants’ NL West lead to two and a half games, Solano’s blast was the Giants’ 14th pinch-hit homer of the season, setting a franchise record.
Quote: “Our people are ready for those moments, they know what they’re looking for, they know what needs to be done.” — Gabe Kapler
September 3: LA throws Giants in first place
Giants 3, Dodgers 2 (11 innings)
The Giants took advantage of another late-game Dodgers mistake to defeat L.A. in 11 innings and take first place in the West.
Dodgers second baseman Tree Turner’s throw pulled the first baseman out of the bag and allowed Buster Posey to safely reach a base-loaded grounder to end the game. The Giants’ celebration was put on hold during a lengthy video replay review until the verdict was reached and they won.
The game marked the first time since 1997 that the Giants and Dodgers were tied for the division lead in September.
Quote: “It was fun. He was back and forth, the crowd was in him. It was definitely a playoff atmosphere and it’s fun to play those games.” — Brandon Crawford
September 5: Giants Bomb Buehler
Giants 6, Dodgers 4
Cy Young candidate Walker Buehler against a large collection of Giants Relief pitchers? On paper, it was the mismatch of the season. In fact, it just proved to be just the year of the Giants.
But the Dodgers ace, who had conceded just three runs in his last five starts against the Giants this season, was out of the game after three innings.
San Francisco became the first team to score a six on Buehler this year, helping Brandon Belt seal his fortune by giving homer and Steven Duggar a two-run triple in the first innings.
The Giants used nine different relievers as they used the LA . took the division lead again
Quote: “We don’t panic. We’ve been in some tough situations before, but there’s nothing to panic. We really, really feel like we have a chance to win the ballgame, no matter what the score and I think it’s helped us all year long.” — Brandon Belt