Most days, it might be considered a problem to be in a bar at 10 a.m. But on Thursday, Giants fans lucky enough to get time off from work or play hooky turned out in force at area sports bars. Others followed the game on their smart phones, desk computers or radios.
Brian Labar, an information technology contractor in Turlock, didn't have to call in sick to anybody, but he did lose a day's wages.
"As long as the Giants win, it's worth it," Labar said as he sat at Wellington Station in Turlock. And they did indeed win, pulling out a 6-4 victory after some tense moments when the Cincinnati Reds mounted a comeback from a 6-0 deficit.
Meanwhile, their colleagues across the bay, the Oakland A's, suffered heartbreak, losing 6-0 to the Detroit Tigers in a more accessibly timed evening game.
Bloody marys and mimosas were the specials of the morning at Wellington's, but coffee seemed to be just as popular a beverage.
At Hero's in downtown Modesto, an enthusiastic crowd erupted when Giants catcher Buster Posey hit a grand slam in the fifth inning.
Megan Hendren, a 30-year-old Modesto Junior College student clad in a Giants T-shirt, black pants and orange and black socks, exulted. She was at Hero's on a break from school and had to head back before the game concluded Thursday afternoon. "I would skip, but I have to take some tests," said Hendren, who estimates she's been a Giants fan for 25 years or so. With San Francisco holding a 6-0 lead in the fifth, "I feel better about leaving now."
Lisa Gallegos watched the game at Hero's with her nephew. Gallegos, who works retrieving documents for workers compensation cases, had planned to move her business Thursday. Instead, the longtime Giants fan watched her team finish an unlikely run to the National League Championship Series.
"Whew," she said after pitcher Sergio Romo got the final out. "We're still in it. This is exciting."
At The Firkin & Fox pub in downtown Modesto on Thursday evening, A's fan Juan Blanco also was feeling the excitement and had been for a few days. Tuesday, the Modestan was at Game 3 of the matchup, which saw Oakland beat Detroit 2-0. And watching Wednesday's ninth-inning, 4-3 victory over the Tigers on TV Wednesday, he was on the edge of his seat. When Detroit scored its third run in the eighth, to lead Oakland 3-1, "at that point it seemed improbable, but not impossible."
Bee breaking news editor Patty Guerra can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2343. Follow her on Twitter at @pattyguerra.