SAN FRANCISCO — His team ahead by nine runs in the ninth inning Monday night, and with Game 7 of the NLCS paused for a moment, Marco Scutaro leaned back and, looking skyward into the black, he opened his mouth to drink up the raindrops. So much, he said, was running through his mind.
"Having the opportunity to live this experience, for me, is unbelievable. All of those guys in there, I love every single one," Scutaro said after the San Francisco Giants put away the St. Louis Cardinals 9-0 to clinch a World Series berth.
It was the first time in team history the Giants won a Game 7 to take a series, and they had to rally after being down 3 games to 1. The Giants have won their past six elimination games (including the NLDS against the Reds) tying the 1985 Kansas City Royals. For them, giving up is hard to do.
The contributions of pitchers Ryan Vogelsong and Barry Zito notwithstanding, Scutaro won series MVP after going 14 for 28 with three doubles, four RBIs and six runs scored. Only seven players in history have hit .500 or better in a seven-game postseason series. With runners on base, he hit ever better, going 6 for 8 with a walk.
Scutaro started the season with Colorado, but finished it with the Giants on a 20-game hitting streak, and he has kept on producing in the playoffs.
"From Day 1, ever since I got traded here, they made me feel familiar, they made me feel good," Scutaro said. "I was worrying about non-baseball things — like where to live — but they made me feel welcome."
Scutaro had three hits and a run scored in Game 7. And he caught a bunch of raindrops in the ninth as the grounds crew tried to keep the field dry.
"I spent four years with Oakland, and I don't remember it ever raining," Scutaro said.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy said adding Scutaro was integral to the Giants being in position to win another championship. And, as impressive as Scutaro had been before, he kicked into an even higher gear after the roughhouse Matt Holliday slide in Game 2.
"I don't know if it was possible for him to raise his game, but he did, after that slide," Bochy said. "He was determined to get to the World Series. He led us there."