The Giants christen the spectacular Pacific Bell Park in inauspicious fashion, losing the first six games in the new yard and 11 of their first 15 games overall. But with the support of 3.3 million fans who sell out every game at the rookie park, San Francisco wins its second division title in four years. Jeff Kent wins the NL MVP while Dusty Baker captures his third Manager of the Year Award.
San Francisco won its second National League West title in four years as the club posted a Major League-best 97-65 mark, only to see its October run stopped short by the Wild Card New York Mets, a club that would eventually win the NL flag.
The Giants enjoyed a truly magical regular season, their first in their new jewel of a home, Pacific Bell Park. Playing in front of 81 straight sellouts that accounted for a franchise-record 3,315,330 fans, San Francisco rattled off a 55-26 ledger, matching the Mets for the best home mark in the Majors.
Dusty Baker won his third NL Manager of the Year award after guiding his troops to a Major League-best 51-26 record after the All-Star break, resulting in an 11-game cushion, the Giants' largest winning margin since 1913.
San Francisco produced its most prolific offensive attack in 70 years, led by National League Most Valuable Player Jeff Kent. Teammate Barry Bonds, who finished second in the MVP voting, clubbed 49 clouts.
The Giants jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the NLDS with a 5-1 victory in front of a raucous Game 1 crowd at Pacific Bell Park. Livan Hernandez held New York to one run over 7 2/3 innings while Ellis Burks clubbed a three-run, third-inning homer off the left-field foul pole.
J.T. Snow's dramatic three-run, pinch homer in the bottom of the ninth tied Game 2, 4-4, but the Mets would rally to win, 5-4, in 10 innings and even the series at a game apiece.
Unfortunately for San Francisco, its offense went south when the club went east, as the Giants could manage only two runs in 22 innings at Shea Stadium. New York's Benny Agbayani gave the Mets a 3-2 victory in Game 3 with a 13th-inning solo home run, and Bobby Jones hurled a one-hit shutout for a 4-0 win in the Game 4 clincher.
The Giants battle for a playoff spot into the season's final weekend, but most eyes are trained on the team throughout the season because of Barry Bonds' phenomenal homer binge. With 39 homers at the All-Star break and three homers on Sept. 9 to put him at 63, it was only a matter of time before the San Francisco slugger broke Mark McGwire's three-year-old record of 70 homers. Bonds ended up bashing 73 long balls that year.
San Francisco makes the playoffs as the Wild Card and then knocks off the NL East champion Braves in a thrilling five-game series to advance to the National League Championship Series. The Giants shock the Central champ Cardinals by winning the first two games in St. Louis, eventually winning the pennant in five games to earn a berth in their first World Series in 13 years. They can't hold a late five-run lead in Game 6 vs. the Angels, losing that game and then Game 7.
Following a 3-0 loss at Florida on Aug. 18, a stagnant San Francisco club stood at 66-56, four games behind Los Angeles in the NL Wild Card chase. From then on, the Giants would play like champions, going 29-10 down the stretch to capture the league's fourth playoff spot by 3 1/2 contests over the Dodgers.
Despite a 95-win campaign that tied for the fourth-most victories in San Francisco history, the Giants entered the NLDS as heavy underdogs to the Atlanta Braves, who captured their 11th consecutive division crown by an astounding 19-game margin.
Undaunted by their opponents and buoyed by the right arm of starter Russ Ortiz, the Giants stormed into Turner Field and won the series opener by an 8-5 count as Rich Aurilia, Benito Santiago and J.T. Snow all collected two RBIs apiece.
Yet, the hope of Game 1 quickly turned into despair, as Atlanta backed the stout pitching of Kevin Millwood and Greg Maddux, respectively, with 17 combined runs in a pair of routs to take a 2-1 series lead.
Facing the prospect of a long winter, San Francisco turned to past playoff hero Livan Hernandez to work his magic once again in Game 4 at Pacific Bell Park. The big right-hander responded by hurling 8 1/3 strong innings, while Aurilia finished 3-for-4 with a homer and four RBIs as the Giants won 8-3 to force a return trip to Atlanta.
In the decisive Game 5, five-time MVP Barry Bonds exorcised his demons of postseasons past, singling and scoring the Giants' first run in the second and clubbing an opposite-field, solo homer in the fourth that gave San Francisco a 2-0 lead. Ortiz became the first Giants pitcher to win two games in the same postseason series since Carl Hubbell went 2-0 in the 1933 World Series, yet San Francisco's 3-1 victory was in doubt until the end. With two men on and none out in the ninth, closer Robb Nen struck out Gary Sheffield then induced Chipper Jones to ground into a series-ending double play.
Following their furious late-season run to capture the Wild Card berth and that stirring five-game NLDS victory over Atlanta, the Giants provided the only truly fitting encore -- they won the club's first NL pennant in 13 years by defeating the St. Louis Cardinals in a scintillating and highly competitive five-contest NLCS.
San Francisco began its run to the Fall Classic by winning each of the first two contests in St. Louis. The Giants pounded Cardinals ace Matt Morris early and often en route to a 9-6 victory in Game 1, while Jason Schmidt turned in a dominating Game 2 performance. The right-hander struck out eight and carried a shutout into the eighth inning, while Aurilia's two-homer, three-RBI effort spurred a 4-1 triumph.
Despite Bonds' dramatic three-run, fifth-inning homer into McCovey Cove that briefly tied Game 3 at Pacific Bell Park, a solo clout by St. Louis' Eli Marrero and stingy pitching by the Cardinals bullpen gave the visitors a 5-4 win and renewed hope.
St. Louis jumped out to a 2-0, first-inning lead in Game 4 and appeared on its way to evening the series until a pair of Giants veterans turned the tide. In the sixth, Snow delivered a two-out, two-run double that knotted the contest. Following a two-out intentional walk to Bonds in the eighth, Santiago cemented his series MVP honors by clubbing a full-count offering from Rick White into the left-field bleachers for a 4-2 lead. Nen struck out the final two hitters in the ninth to strand the tying run at third and close out a 4-3 San Francisco victory.
Giants lefty Kirk Rueter and Morris engaged in a classic October pitchers' duel in a Game 5 that was scoreless until St. Louis broke through with a run in the seventh. Bonds tied the contest, 1-1, with an eighth-inning sacrifice fly, thus setting the stage for one of the most dramatic moments in San Francisco history.
Morris retired the first two Giants hitters in the bottom of the ninth inning but was chased by consecutive singles from David Bell and Shawon Dunston. St. Louis turned to reliever Steve Kline, and Kenny Lofton greeted the southpaw by lining his first pitch into right-center field for a single that scored a sliding Bell as the jubilant NL champion Giants poured onto the field.
In the first World Series between two Wild Card teams, the Giants and Anaheim Angels lived up to the moniker, combining to set numerous offensive records in a memorable seven-game Fall Classic.
Anaheim emerged from the fireworks with the first world championship in franchise history, while San Francisco was saddled with heartbreak after seeing a title slip away just five outs from the pinnacle.
The clubs split the first two contests in Anaheim, with Bonds grabbing the spotlight in his first appearance on the World Series stage. San Francisco's left fielder clubbed a solo homer in his first at-bat to spark a 4-3 Giants win in Game 1, then connected for a mammoth ninth-inning shot in Game 2. Not to be outdone, the Angels' Tim Salmon homered twice as Anaheim won an 11-10 slugfest to even the series.
When the scene shifted north, the Angels seemed to take control with a convincing 10-4 win in Game 3. As they had all season, the Giants battled back in Game 4, rallying from a 3-0 deficit to earn a 4-3 victory on Bell's two-out, RBI single in the eighth inning.
Game 5 belonged to San Francisco, as the home club delighted the 42,713 fans at Pacific Bell Park with a 16-4 rout. Jeff Kent tied Giants World Series records with four runs, two homers and four RBIs, Aurilia drove in three runs to establish a franchise playoff mark with 17 RBIs overall, and Snow had two of his series-high 11 hits.
The Giants were eight outs from their first World Series title since 1954, as Dunston's two-run homer, Bonds' record eighth postseason clout (fourth of the Series), and Kent's RBI single propelled San Francisco to a 5-0 lead in Game 6. But the ultimate prize was wrested away as Scott Spiezio's three-run, seventh-inning homer and series MVP Troy Glaus' two-run, eighth-inning double highlighted Anaheim's rally to a 6-5 victory.
San Francisco scored first in Game 7 but ultimately could not overcome the pitching of John Lackey and the bat of Garret Anderson, who delivered the deciding three-run, third-inning double in Anaheim's 4-1 triumph.
Under new manager Felipe Alou, the Giants become the ninth team in Major League history to lead their division from start to finish, posting 100 wins to capture the NL West. The Wild Card Marlins upstage the Giants, however, winning their National League Division Series three games to one en route to winning their second world championship.
For the first time since 1936-37, the Giants earned consecutive appearances in postseason play, as the club won its third National League West title in seven years and became only the second team in franchise history to go wire-to-wire with an overall finish of 100-61.
A flurry of offseason moves brought new faces to San Francisco as the team introduced first-year manager Felipe Alou and four new starters to the lineup. The revamped club breezed by their opposition, ending their campaign 15 1/2 games ahead of the Dodgers for the Giants' largest advantage in 91 years.
General manager Brian Sabean garnered Executive of the Year accolades for constructing the team with the third best record in baseball and Barry Bonds earned his unprecedented sixth National League Most Valuable Player Award.
Headed into Game 1 of the NLDS rested and primed for success, pitching ace Jason Schmidt thrived in the intense atmosphere at SBC Park, tossing a complete-game three-hitter as the Giants blanked the visiting Marlins, 2-0.
A sudden turn of events plagued the Giants in Game 2, as San Francisco saw its 4-1 lead quickly vanish as Gold Glovers made costly miscues and the Marlins escaped SBC Park with a 9-5 win.
Knotted up at 1, both teams headed to South Florida, but the Giants' run of bad luck seemed to follow. After taking a 3-2 advantage in the 11th inning of Game 3, San Francisco let the Marlins slip back into the contest after a dropped fly ball by Jose Cruz Jr. allowed the tying run on base. With two out, the bases loaded and a 1-2 count on Ivan Rodriguez, Tim Worrell's next pitch was drilled into right field for a game-winning, two-run single.
In Game 4, San Francisco's furious comeback in the ninth fell short as J.T. Snow was thrown out at the plate on Jeffrey Hammonds' two-out single to left, giving the Marlins a 7-6 victory and ending the Giants' hopes for another playoff run.
The Giants slog out to a dismal start, sitting eight games under .500 and behind the league leaders on May 18. But after Jason Schmidt's one-hit shutout of the Cubs that day, the Giants rip off the fourth-best record in the Majors and put themselves squarely in playoff contention. The Dodgers hold off the Giants for the division title, and only a scorching run by Houston keeps San Francisco out of the Wild Card slot.
Barry Bonds' three right-knee surgeries in the offseason, combined with a bacterial infection, served as a portent to what would prove a disappointing season for the Giants. Bonds didn't take the field for the Giants until September, and by then, it was too little, too late. There were, however, signs of improvement and growth that should encourage Giants fans. Center fielder Randy Winn, whom the Giants acquired from Seattle just before the trade deadline, and young pitchers Matt Cain, Noah Lowry and Brad Hennessey all excelled in the second half. After finishing just seven games back in the division, the Giants have every reason for optimism in 2006.
The Giants ultimately met with frustration, finishing third in the NL West at 76-85 after being 74-72 and only three games out of first place in mid-September. But the season included some redeeming aspects. Shortstop Omar Vizquel won his 11th Gold Glove award. Matt Cain (13-12, 4.15) tied for fourth in the NL Rookie of the Year balloting. Jason Schmidt set a franchise record with 16 strikeouts against Florida on June 6. And Barry Bonds hit 26 home runs to hike his career total to 734, 21 behind all-time leader Hank Aaron.
The Giants struggled to their first last place finish since 1996, logging a 71-91 record. Barry Bonds eclipsed Major League Baseball's all-time home run record, finishing with 762 clouts in his final season with the Giants. The emergence of young starters Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum became a bright spot for the club under new manager Bruce Bochy.
This was a year of transition for the Giants, who endured their fourth consecutive losing season while placing fourth in the NL West with a 72-90 record. They played their first full season without home run king Barry Bonds since 1992. The team received an influx of youth, as a franchise-record 16 rookies made their Major League debuts. But San Francisco appeared to get the hang of things toward the end of the season, posting a 28-27 mark in the final two months. Performers such as rookie Pablo Sandoval, who hit .345 in 41 games, hastened the Giants' strong finish.
It was also a year of personal achievement, led by Tim Lincecum -- the first Giant to win the Cy Young Award since Mike McCormick in 1967. The right-hander impressed by finishing 18-5 with a Major League high 265 strikeouts. Lincecum, playing his first full Major League season, made the NL All-Star team, as did closer Brian Wilson, who tied for second in the NL with 41 saves. Omar Vizquel, the popular and respected veteran, established a Major League record on May 25 by playing his 2,584th game at shortstop, eclipsing fellow Venezuelan Luis Aparicio.
The Giants surprised a lot of observers by finishing 88-74 and remaining in the Wild Card race through most of the season. Pitching was the big story, as Giants hurlers led the Majors with 1,302 strikeouts and 18 shutouts. But the offense ranked 13th in scoring, which cost hitting coach Carney Lansford his job. Nevertheless, Pablo Sandoval picked up where he left off after the previous season, finishing second in the NL with a .330 batting average and leading the team with 25 homers and 90 RBIs. The Giants, who finished below .500 at home in three of the previous four seasons, went 52-29 at AT&T Park, the NL's best home record. After the season, general manager Brian Sabean and manager Bruce Bochy received two-year contract extensions.
Almost every starter performed with distinction. Lincecum became the first pitcher in history to win the Cy Young Award in each of his first two full Major League seasons. Though he went only 15-7, he trimmed his ERA to 2.62 to 2.48 and led the league with 261 strikeouts. He started the All-Star Game and was joined in St. Louis by Matt Cain, who went 14-8 after posting a 15-30 mark in the previous two years. Jonathan Sanchez took a perfect game into the eighth inning against San Diego on July 10 and finished with the Giants' first no-hitter in 33 years. Randy Johnson joined the Giants as a free agent and not only sparked the club with his competitive spirit but also won his 300th game.