SAN FRANCISCO There wasnt a soaked soul in a Giantsuniform who didnt appreciate what NLCS MVP Marco Scutaro did in leading thempast the St. Louis Cardinals and into the World Series.
But some understood it better than others.
To see him hit the ball on the screws every time up there,I had flashbacks, said Will Clark, who so memorably obliterated the ChicagoCubs in the 1989 NLCS. Getting that hot, barreling up every ball it was greatto see somebody get locked in and stay locked in. He hit line drive after linedrive. Thats a true professional doing his craft and from my perspective, itsrefreshing to see.
Clark hit .650 against the Cubs, and to this day, pitcherstalk into their gloves on the mound because of the grand slam the thrill hitoff Greg Maddux after reading the pitchers lips. Clark had 13 hits in thatpostseason series.
Scutaro had 14 against the Cardinals, who knocked him downbut never out.
Ive been there before, Clark said. Youre in the middleof the tightest place in the world, in front of the brightest lights, andyoure putting great swings on the ball. Its great to see.
After rapping out three more hits in the Giants 9-0,pennant-clinching Game 7 victory Monday night, Scutaro became the first playerin LCS history to post six multi-hit games in one series. And 12 of his hitscame after Matt Hollidays controversial takeout slide left him hobbling towardthe X-ray room.
How you like me now? said Scutaro, who couldnt help onemore jab.
The Giants paid back Holliday in every way. With the Giantsup 7-0 in the sixth, Matt Cain drilled him with an 0-2 pitch that had theCardinals, especially pitcher Chris Carpenter, screaming at him from thevisiting dugout.
There was one more bit of retribution to end the game.Holliday popped up in the rain to Scutaro, who squeezed the Cardinals lastlife between his fingers.
The Giants celebrated more than their second trip to theWorld Series in three years, or their first Game 7 victory in franchisehistory. They celebrated the invitation for Scutaro, a 36-year-old professionalhitter, to show his skills on the most important stage.
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I couldnt be happier for him, right fielder Hunter Pencesaid. Hes been an anchor for us. What an incredible performance. Hes verydeserving of the MVP.
Scutaro, who ended the season with a 20-game hitting streak,now has hit safely in 10 consecutive during the playoffs.
Scutaro received his trophy in one of the strangestpresentations in memory amid a driving rainstorm. Afterwards, he did notsound like an impending free agent eager to test the waters.
All those guys in there, I love every single one, Scutarosaid. I think to win a championship, it takes more than 25 guys. It takes thefront office all the way to the bat boy, and you have to have that chemistrygoing.
When I got traded here, in the beginning, I was thinkingstuff like, Where am I going to live? And family, and packing, all thatstuff. But a couple days later I was kind of happy just because of the kind ofteam we had. And now here we are in the World Series.