Giants Vault: Willie's four-homer day

5:58 AM UTC

MLB.com is digging back into its massive video vault to uncover classic plays that you have loved, forgotten about or, perhaps, are discovering for the very first time. Watch these moments and many, many more on the MLB Vault YouTube page.

April 30, 1961: Mays shakes off sickness, clubs four homers
Willie Mays made up for a slow start to the season with one of the best single-game performances in Giants franchise history, becoming the ninth Major Leaguer to hit four home runs in a single ballgame while also driving in eight runs. Shown above is historic dinger No. 4, which came off Braves pitcher Don McMahon in the eighth inning.

Mays actually came close to not playing that day; he was so weak from a case of food poisoning the night prior that he asked manager Alvin Dark to take him out of the lineup before later changing his mind. So in some ways, this was the Say Hey Kid's equivalent of Michael Jordan's famous "flu game."

Oct. 4, 1989: Will brings the thrills in NLCS Game 1
Maybe Greg Maddux wasn't quite Greg Maddux in 1989, with even more dominant years than his 19-win, 2.95 ERA campaign with the Cubs yet to come. Still, fans were treated to a battle between young Maddux and Will "The Thrill" Clark in Game 1 of the '89 NLCS -- and Clark won it handily. San Francisco's superstar went 3-for-3 against Maddux with a pair of homers, including a grand slam, and he'd later add a single and a walk to cap off a massive four-hit, six-RBI night.

The Cubs' pitches looked like a beach ball to Clark for the rest of the week, as he finished the Giants' NLCS triumph 13-for-20 with eight RBIs and a whopping 1.882 OPS en route to series MVP honors.

Aug. 21, 2003: Bonds leads Giants to three straight walk-off wins
No series sweep is fun for the losing side, but it's hard to imagine a team wanting to get out of town faster than the Atlanta Braves after this night in San Francisco. That's because the Giants picked up all three of their wins in this August 2003 series in walk-off fashion, with Barry Bonds belting a homer into McCovey Cove to win Game 1 and Edgardo Alfonzo claiming Game 2 with an RBI single.

Despite Braves manager Bobby Cox's instructions, pitcher Trey Hodges threw Bonds a belt-high sinker in the 10th inning of Game 3 -- a pitch that anyone who watched baseball in the early 2000s will tell you is an unfortunate one to throw.

"When I saw where the pitch was going, I knew where it was going [to end up]," said Cox.

July 13, 2013: Pence preserves Lincecum's first no-hitter
Nearly every no-hitter has at least one defensive highlight that's come to be known as "The Play," and the first of Tim Lincecum's back-to-back no-hitters in successive years is certainly associated with this sliding catch by Hunter Pence. Maybe it's not the smoothest route to the ball (this is Pence we're talking about), but Pence came up typically clutch in his own style, robbing Padres center fielder Alexi Amarista for the final out of the eighth inning.

"I thought for sure it was a hit,'' said Lincecum, who was the losing pitcher during Reds pitcher Homer Bailey's no-hitter against the Giants just 11 days before. "You see Hunter flying out of nowhere making the flying grab."

Oct. 13, 2002: Santiago's clutch, twirling home run
After years of paying his dues with mostly non-competitive teams, 37-year-old catcher Benito Santiago was given the opportunity for a huge October moment in the eighth inning of Game 4 of the 2002 National League Championship Series. And when the Cardinals decided to intentionally walk Barry Bonds to bring Santiago up to the plate in a tie game, he took full advantage of that opportunity, launching a two-run homer to left with a swing that sent him twirling at the plate.

Walking Bonds to get to Santiago, while defensible, cost Cardinals manager Tony La Russa in this series. Santiago also drove in four runs in NLCS Game 1, including three directly after Bonds was given a free pass.

July 7, 2009: Romo's first big league save
Here's proof that Sergio Romo's slider was filthy right from the beginning. Romo had already impressed as a rookie in 2008 (2.12 ERA) and he'd already picked up a pair of wins in '09 when manager Bruce Bochy plugged him into his first career save situation. Asked to get the final two outs after Barry Zito's 8 1/3 brilliant scoreless innings, Romo struck out both Marlins batters he faced with the slider that would come to define his career.

Romo finished his Giants tenure with 84 regular-season saves and four more in postseason play -- including a very famous one to close out San Francisco's 2012 World Series sweep.