12 wild Dodgers-Giants moments

October 8th, 2021

The Dodgers and Giants have been battling each other for a long time.

Who can forget the 1889 championship between the NL’s New York Giants and American Association’s Brooklyn Bridegrooms? The next year, Brooklyn joined the NL, and the clubs’ head-to-head confrontations have continued ever since -- on two coasts -- from the days of John McGraw and Christy Mathewson to those of Dave Roberts and Walker Buehler.

And now, the two storied rivals are meeting in the postseason for the first time since the World Series era began in 1903. Game 1 of the NL Division Series at Oracle Park is set for Friday at 9:30 p.m. ET, and the stage is set for quite a confrontation between 107-win San Francisco and 106-win Los Angeles following their season-long duel.

The most famous moment between these two proud franchises remains Bobby Thomson’s “Shot Heard ‘Round the World,” to win the NL pennant for the Giants in the finale of a three-game tiebreaker series at the Polo Grounds on Oct. 3, 1951. Since then, the teams have moved to the West Coast and continued authoring memorable moments.

Narrowing those down is an impossible task. But to set the stage for the latest chapter in Dodgers-Giants history, here is a look back at a dozen of the wildest, most entertaining and most stunning events since the co-move to California, with a focus on more recent history.

Tauchman robs, Giants win
May 28, 2021
Recency bias? Absolutely. But this division race for the ages deserves to be acknowledged, and this was both a thrilling and highly consequential moment. First, remember the context: Nobody expected the Giants to challenge the Dodgers, or even the Padres, in the NL West. And while San Francisco got off to a hot start (28-16), it was then swept by Los Angeles at Oracle Park (May 21-23). On May 27, the teams began another series, this time at Dodger Stadium, and L.A. won the opener. The message seemed clear: This is still the Dodgers’ division.

Not so fast. On May 28, Buster Posey’s three-run homer off Blake Treinen put the Giants up 5-2, but Austin Barnes’ two-out, three-run shot off Tyler Rogers in the bottom of the ninth tied the score again. Then up stepped Albert Pujols, who launched what looked like a walk-off homer to left field -- only to have Mike Tauchman climb the wall and pull it back. The Giants never looked back after that, beating Kenley Jansen in the 10th inning, winning the final two games of the series, finishing 10-9 against the Dodgers and edging them out for the division title by one game.

“Get it out of the ocean”
June 9, 2019
This is a rivalry that has seen some bad blood over the years, and Madison Bumgarner was frequently in the middle of that during his decorated Giants tenure. (The same goes for Yasiel Puig). This time, it was Max Muncy coining a phrase for the ages when he blasted a 424-foot home run into McCovey Cove off Bumgarner, who took exception to Muncy admiring the splash hit and made that known. Muncy was unfazed, telling Bumgarner, “If you don’t want me to watch the ball, you can get it out of the ocean.” It quickly became fodder for shirts and some creative trolling at Dodger Stadium.

Kershaw does it all himself
April 1, 2013
Clayton Kershaw has tormented the Giants since he arrived in the Majors in 2008. So when the left-hander twirled a four-hit shutout against them at Dodger Stadium on Opening Day 2013, it was nothing new. What was new was Kershaw, leading off the bottom of the eighth in a scoreless tie, smacking a solo home run to dead center field off George Kontos to key a 4-0 victory. Through 2021, that remains Kershaw’s only homer in 847 career plate appearances -- but he picked a good time for it.

Molina exits game -- during a HR
Sept. 26, 2008
This moment is difficult to even describe, but here goes: Notoriously slow-footed Giants catcher Bengie Molina, facing the Dodgers in San Francisco, hit a fly ball to right that appeared to hit the top of the wall, so he stopped at first; rookie Emmanuel Burriss came out to pinch-run; the umpires then reviewed the play and ruled it a homer, but also ruled that Molina was already out of the game, forcing Burriss to finish circling the bases. Got all that?

A division-winning walk-off
Oct. 2, 2004
Seven years earlier, on Sept. 18, 1997, Brian Johnson’s walk-off homer in the 12th inning against the Dodgers brought the two teams even in the NL West with nine games to go. The Giants went on to win the division. The Dodgers turned the tables in 2004. San Francisco pulled to within two games of L.A. by winning the opener of a season-ending three-game series, then carried a 3-0 lead into the bottom of the ninth the next afternoon. Suddenly, the Dodgers pieced together three runs to knot the score before veteran outfielder Steve Finley -- acquired from Arizona at the Deadline -- clinched the division with a walk-off grand slam.

Bonds, Gagne have epic showdown
April 16, 2004
When Barry Bonds and Eric Gagne clashed in 2004, it was a true battle of titans. You could not pitch to Bonds at that time; he essentially broke baseball with a 232-walk season (120 of them intentional) in ‘04. That year, Gagne was the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner and extended his consecutive-saves streak to 84. On April 16, Gagne came in to protect a 3-0 lead in the ninth in San Francisco and drew Bonds in a one-on, one-out situation. Gagne went right after Bonds in an entertaining, mano-a-mano showdown, with Bonds pulling one blast foul into McCovey Cove before drilling a belt-high fastball over the center-field wall. (The Dodgers still won, 3-2.)

Barry breaks, extends the record
Oct. 5, 2001
The ballpark now known as Oracle Park was ready to explode when Bonds stepped to the plate in the first inning against Chan Ho Park, sitting on 70 home runs as he opened the final series of the season. Bonds did not make them wait around, pounding a juicy 1-0 pitch over the wall in right-center to break Mark McGwire’s three-year-old, single-season home run record. For good measure, Bonds hit No. 72 off Park in his next at-bat and No. 73 off L.A.’s Dennis Springer two days later.

Elster, Dodgers spoil ballpark debut
April 11, 2000
After 22 years, Oracle Park still has hosted only one individual three-homer game in the regular season. It wasn’t from Bonds, Jeff Kent, or any other well-known slugger. It was from a 35-year-old Dodgers shortstop who had not played a Major League game the year before and had only 74 career homers to his credit. That was Kevin Elster, whose three long balls lifted the Dodgers to a 6-5 win in the very first regular-season contest played at what was then known as Pacific Bell Park. (Pablo Sandoval did also have a three-homer game there for the Giants in the 2012 World Series).

A fond farewell, featuring Tommy
Sept. 29, 1999
No Dodger has ever soaked in the San Francisco boos quite like Tommy Lasorda. So it was appropriate that when the Giants hosted the Dodgers in the final night game at Candlestick Park, they invited the former L.A. skipper (who called it quits in 1996) to do that one more time at the blustery old ballpark. While “That’s Amore” played over the sound system, Lasorda came onto the field and enjoyed the moment, blowing kisses to the crowd as it showered him with jeers.

14 innings of zeroes and then …
May 2, 1995
There has never been an L.A.-San Francisco game quite like this one. In just the seventh game of a season that was delayed by the strike, the teams traded goose eggs through 14 innings. Finally, in the top of the 15th, the Dodgers started a rally with two outs and nobody on, pushing across three runs. In the bottom of the inning, the Giants also made two quick outs. But it wasn’t over yet. After a walk and a single, Robby Thompson hit a game-tying three-run homer, before Bonds singled and then flew around to score the walk-off run when left fielder Reggie Williams misplayed Matt Williams’ hit.

Orel’s streak lives on -- barely
Sept. 23, 1988
Dodgers ace Orel Hershiser set the Major League record with 59 straight scoreless innings in 1988, passing Dodgers legend Don Drysdale in the process. But it nearly ended at 42 innings during this game at Candlestick Park, when shortstop Alfredo Griffin tried to turn a double play and threw wildly to first, allowing a run to score. However, the umpires ruled that the runner on first (Brett Butler) had interfered with Griffin, making it an inning-ending double play. Hershiser went on to complete his fifth straight shutout.

Marichal and Roseboro brawl
Aug. 22, 1965
One of the most infamous and brutal incidents in baseball history occurred during a Sandy Koufax-Juan Marichal duel at Candlestick Park. Tensions were high, with the teams battling for the NL pennant, and they flared during a couple of incidents early in the game. Then, with Marichal batting in the bottom of the third, Dodgers catcher John Roseboro buzzed him with a throw back to Koufax. The situation escalated quickly, with Marichal striking Roseboro with his bat and igniting a benches-clearing brawl. It is worth noting, though, that Marichal and Roseboro later became friends, with Marichal speaking at Roseboro’s funeral in 2002.