June 18th, 2012
In honor of the 2002 Team Reunion coming up on July 1 we wanted to look back at some of the great moments during the 2002 season. Following a furious late-season run to capture the Wild Card berth and a 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 Rich Aurilia’s two-homer, three-RBI effort spurred a 4-1 triumph.
Despite Barry Bonds’ dramatic three-run, fifth- inning homer into McCovey Cove that briefly tied Game #3 at AT&T Park, a solo clout by St. Louis’ Eli Marrero and stingy pitching by the Cardinal bull- pen 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, J.T. Snow delivered a two-out, two-run double that knotted the contest. Following a two-out intentional walk to Bonds in the eighth, Benito 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. Robb Nen struck out the final two hitters in the ninth to strand the tying run at third and close out a 4-3 SF 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.
TONIGHT’S GAME…The San Francisco Giants visit the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the 1st game of this 3-game series…Giants’ right-hander Matt Cain (8-2, 2.18) will face Angels’ right-hander Jerome Williams (6-4, 4.20).