With all eyes on starter Joba Chamberlain through the first 4 1/3 innings, the gaze shifted as Giese took over and didn't give up a single hit or run. Cheers followed him off the field after he struck out David DeJesus for his final pitch of the day to end the seventh inning.
But when Giese talked about his New York teammates in the clubhouse after the contest, he sounded more like an admiring fan than the game's winning pitcher.
"Just to see Mariano Rivera close it couldn't be any better," he said.
And when the right-hander shook off veteran Yankees catcher Jorge Posada for the one and only time Sunday, he felt bad about doing it. With two strikes already recorded against Kansas City's Alex Gordon in the sixth inning, Posada called for a fastball, but Giese went with a breaking ball instead. It worked, and Gordon struck out swinging.
The newcomer also credited what he called an electric offensive lineup for providing the run support that he needed for the win. But the 31-year-old Giese, a journeyman Minor Leaguer in his 10th season of professional ball, wasn't the only one doling out compliments after the game. His teammates were equally impressed with the reliever's performance.
"He spent a lot of time grinding it out," first baseman Jason Giambi said. "That's one of those things that makes it well worth it in this game: a guy that spends a lot of time and doesn't quit, has been around and finally gets that opportunity. I know it's got to mean the world to him."
And it did. Or it will, once Giese can know for sure that it wasn't just a dream.
"If you would have told me I was going to get my first win at Yankee Stadium, I never would have believed you, and to have it come true is just unbelievable," he said. "I've had some close calls, but never gotten that 'W' call, so that was nice to have."
Giese made his New York debut Tuesday against Toronto, the same day he signed a Major League contract and the same day Chamberlain made his first appearance in the Yankees' starting rotation. But the reliever was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Wednesday only to be recalled two days later, when reliever Chris Britton was placed on the 15-day disabled list.
It's not Giese's first time in the Major Leagues. He made his debut with San Francisco in 2007. But Sunday's win gave Giese something he never achieved with the Giants, and the memories to go along with it.
"Just having the manager come and shake your hand and tell you, 'Great job,'" he said. "That stood out to me."
In the 6 1/3 innings Giese has thrown for the Yankees, he has given up just one earned run. Maybe now he can start to see that his name belongs next to those of his teammates, and maybe he's done enough to keep his spot on the New York roster for a while.
"I sure hope so," Giese said. "Blood, sweat and tears to get here, and you really hope you get an opportunity to stick."
Samantha Newman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.