Tue Oct 23, 2012 8:13 pm
Giants' Game 7 romp led by Cain, Scutaro
Henry Schulman, San Francisco Chronicle
Updated 12:56 a.m., Tuesday, October 23, 2012
As rain pounded the field in the ninth inning, second baseman Marco Scutaro spread his arms and looked to the heavens. As the water soaked his face, he beamed a 100,000-watt smile.
Moments later, he looked up again. This time his ticket to the World Series, a Matt Holliday popup, was falling his way. As Sergio Romo bounced on the mound like a kid on a pogo stick, Scutaro squeezed his glove and the Giants had a most improbable pennant.
Down three games to one in the National League Championship Series, they dominated the Cardinals over the final three games and bulldozed the defending World Series champions 9-0 Monday night.
The Giants outscored St. Louis 20-1 in Games 5, 6, and 7 and won a decisive seventh game for the first time in franchise history, while joining the 1996 Braves and 2003 Marlins as the only teams to overcome a 3-1 deficit to win an NLCS.
"How fitting that it happened in the rain," team president Larry Baer said. "October is our most beautiful month in San Francisco and it's pouring outside. It's crazy, just like everything this team has done."
Now the Giants will play the well-rested Detroit Tigers in a World Series that seemed out of reach so many times. Manager Bruce Bochy's boys won six elimination wins to get there, the second time a team has eluded the reaper's scythe that many times in a single postseason.
In doing so they ended the season of another team that had a unique way of slipping from mortality's reach. The Giants formally ended the Cardinals' reign as World Series champions.
The Giants also gave the faithful a thrill it could not enjoy in 2010, a postseason series-clinching at AT&T Park. Many will return for Game 1 of the Series on Wednesday night.
Romo was asked to get the final out of a Game 7 blowout as rain fell so hard the area behind third base could have been called Lake Panda. Home-plate umpire Gary Darling momentarily stopped play so the grounds crew could apply dry dirt to the infield.
That only heightened the anticipation for 43,056 fans who did not seem to care a whit about getting drenched. They did not pop open umbrellas. They just waved their orange towels.
When play resumed, Romo got Holliday - of course - to pop up to Scutaro - of course. The entire narrative of their collision in Game 2 came full circle as the Giants reached their second World Series in three seasons.
"I was just like praying, 'Please, I've got to catch this ball,' " Scutaro said. "I got kind of lucky, too. When he hit the flyball the rain stopped a little bit. A couple of minutes earlier maybe I don't catch it."
Romo stood in his corner of another clubhouse party and had to laugh.
"I'm from the desert, so I don't know much about rain," he said. "I was very happy to go out there in the rain, the sunshine, it doesn't matter. I just wanted to play with these guys and make them smile, and now we're going to the World Series."
The mob of newly minted National League champs navigated toward Scutaro after the catch, which also was fitting. The midseason acquisition won the series Most Valuable Player award in a runaway.
He batted .500 and tied a League Championship Series record with 14 hits, two of which contributed to a burst of seven Giants runs in the first three innings that turned what was supposed to be a tense, winner-take-all game into a 3-hour, 35-minute victory lap.
Scutaro also broke Will Clark's franchise record of 13 hits in a single postseason series, which he set in the 1989 NLCS.
But Scutaro did not have the Game 7 hit that will become etched in Giants postseason lore.
They were leading 2-0 in the third inning, one run scoring on a single by winning pitcher Matt Cain, when they loaded the bases with nobody out to chase starter Kyle Lohse. The rally started with a Scutaro single, which Pablo Sandoval followed with a double.
Joe Kelly relieved Lohse and threw one pitch to Hunter Pence, who was 3-for-24 in the series. The ball broke Pence's bat as he made contact. Replays showed that as the barrel busted, the bat hit the ball two more times, imparting wicked spin and forcing the ball to change course.
That explains why shortstop Pete Kozma initially broke to his right, then had to do a 180 and go left. His diving attempt was futile. The ball rolled into center field and two runs scored on the hit. Buster Posey then rumbled home from first for a 5-0 lead when Jon Jay bobbled the ball.
Pence said he did not feel the bat hit the ball more than once, but he saw it on the replay. So did Clark, a Giants special instructor.
"I've never hit a ball like that. I've never seen a ball hit like that," Clark said. "That's the beauty of baseball.
"We've talked about the baseball gods before. The baseball gods were shining on the Giants."
In each of the final three games of the NLCS, the Giants' starting pitcher drove in a run. A look at those at-bats:
Game 5: Barry Zito, bunt single scored Gregor Blanco in fourth inning. Giants won 5-0.
Game 6: Ryan Vogelsong, fielder's choice grounder scored Brandon Belt in second inning. Vogelsong safe on error. Giants won 6-1.
Game 7: Matt Cain, single to center scored Blanco in second inning. Giants won 9-0.
NLCS win streak
The Giants have won the NLCS in each of their past four appearances. The full rundown since the advent of divisional play in 1969:
Year Opponent Result
2012 Cardinals Giants in 7
2010 Phillies Giants in 6
2002 Cardinals Giants in 5
1989 Cubs Giants in 5
1987 Cardinals Cards in 7
1971 Pirates Pirates in 4 (best-of-5)
Who: Tigers (Verlander 17-8) at Giants (TBA)
What: World Series, Game 1
Where: AT&T Park
When: 5:07 p.m.
TV/Radio: Channel: 2 Channel: 40 /680, 860-Spanish
Giants vs. Cards
Game 1: Cardinals 6, Giants 4
Game 2: Giants 7, Cardinals 1
Game 3: Cardinals 3, Giants 1
Game 4: Cardinals 8, Giants 3
Game 5: Giants 5, Cardinals 0
Game 6: Giants 6, Cardinals 1
Game 7: Giants 9, Cardinals 0
Not only did the Giants win the final three games of the NLCS, they did so in overwhelming fashion. In composite:
Team: Runs - Hits - Errors
Giants: 20 - 29 - 1
Cardinals: 1 - 19 - 4
Wed Oct 24, 2012 1:58 am
Wed Oct 24, 2012 2:45 am
Wed Oct 24, 2012 2:48 am
Wed Oct 24, 2012 6:05 am
Did you stay for the whole game?
It was pouring at the end!!
I hope your team has good luck in the World Series.
The Tigers have a great pitching staff but you can't bet against the Giants this year.
If they go down 3 games to none then that is just where the Giants want them!!
Wed Oct 24, 2012 6:11 am
Wed Oct 24, 2012 6:26 am
rlj4ep wrote:WOW, what a thrill DOC! Nice post above. It was a great series played by two terrific teams. As a Phillies fan I am glad to see Hunter Pence make it to the World Series. I think the Giants match up well with the Detroit Tigers. I generally root for the National League and I will this year as well, since the Phillies will be home watching the games like me! Are you going to be at any of the World Series games? Enjoy San Francisco. It's one of my favorite cities.
Wed Oct 24, 2012 6:51 am
Wed Oct 24, 2012 7:26 am
Wed Oct 24, 2012 9:25 am
Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:54 pm
Mitch wrote:How great to be there!
Do you have season tickets?
Have you taken your boys to many games?
Some of my best memories are going to games with my Dad and Brother.
I've taken my Boys to games a number of time when they were younger and they had a ball.
They both are grown now so it's harder to get the time to go.
The really sad part is that the closest pro team I can them to is the CUBS!!
Wed Oct 24, 2012 9:11 pm
Wed Oct 24, 2012 9:38 pm
elvisjock wrote:Scutaro emerges intact from the hell that was the Red Sox in September, 2011. Good for him.
Thu Oct 25, 2012 1:39 am
Thu Oct 25, 2012 2:26 am
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