San Francisco Giants: The Biggest Moments From Departed Giants

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Aug 4, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; San Francisco Giants left fielder Nori Aoki (23) hits a home run against the Atlanta Braves in the ninth inning at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Nori Aoki

For his short time with the Giants, Nori Aoki was extremely productive. He made contact at an incredible rate (his 6.4 percent strikeout rate was the lowest in baseball among players with at least 350 plate appearances), he was nearly an All-Star, and he even played great defense before his injury troubles began, contrary to his reputation as a subpar defender.

With all that said, there wasn’t much flash to Aoki’s game. For all the great things that Aoki did for the Giants, there wasn’t that one moment that stuck out as his “defining moment” as a Giant. He had some great times, like his nine hits in a three-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers, his former team, or his near two home run performance against the Chicago Cubs (he missed a splash hit by about three feet, and was thrown out trying to stretch a triple into an inside-the-park-home run), and the perfectly executed juke to dive around Justin Turner‘s tag to get back to first base safely.

Aoki’s coolest moment as a Giants probably came on May 3rd, and it was helped out by Joe Panik, who was hitting behind him. In the bottom of the first, on the first pitch from Los Angeles Angels’ pitcher Jered Weaver, Aoki crushed a fastball into the arcade atop the right field wall for his first home run with San Francisco. After crossing home plate, he high-fived a smiling Panik, transferring that surprising home run power to the Giants’ second baseman.

Three pitches later, Panik followed Aoki’s lead, abusing a hanging curveball into the arcade, which landed about 30 feet to the left of where Aoki’s home run ball landed, for his first home run of the year as well. The two became the first Giants pair to lead off a game with back-to-back home runs since 1964. Angel Pagan, who was batting third, nearly made it a holy triumvirate of firsts, but his shot into right-center field bounced off the wall, and he settled for a triple.

After a successful, but extremely brief and injury-filled season with the Giants, Aoki is moving up the west coast, heading to the Seattle Mariners who have completely rebuilt their team this offseason.

Next: Mike Leake