Will Clark on NLCS MVP Scutaro: 'I had flashbacks'

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Will Clark on NLCS MVP Scutaro: 'I had flashbacks'

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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.

BAGGARLY: Giants soak up their first Game 7 win in franchise history

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.

Cubs outfielder vows he didn't give Trump the middle finger at White House

Cubs outfielder vows he didn't give Trump the middle finger at White House

WASHINGTON – Albert Almora Jr. didn’t use Wednesday’s Oval Office photo op as a subtle form of political protest, but it did sort of look like the Cubs outfielder gave President Donald Trump the middle finger, at least from that angle in an image that went viral on Twitter.    

“There was two fingers! Look closely, there was two fingers!” a veteran player yelled across the room as reporters gathered around Almora’s locker inside the visiting clubhouse at Nationals Park. 

“Guys were giving me a hard time about it,” Almora said, “but I pointed out the second finger. We’re all good.”

In another White House visit that didn’t look nearly as unofficial or informal as the Cubs said it would be, one snapshot became Almora with part of his left hand in his pocket. Almora stood near Kris Bryant – who held a 45 Wrigley Field scoreboard panel – and Trump at his desk with the World Series trophy.

“Obviously, it’s unfortunate,” Almora said with a laugh. “I’m getting ready to take a picture and I’m posing there. But you guys know that I would never do that to the president of the United States. 

“I respect everybody. It is what it is. We laugh about it now, but there’s definitely two fingers out there.”

READ MORE AT CSNChicago.com

Giants notes: Melancon gets injection; Kontos gets an at-bat

Giants notes: Melancon gets injection; Kontos gets an at-bat

SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants were annoyed by Monday’s “rubbing teammates the wrong way” report for a number of reasons, but near the top of the list was the fact that the target, Mark Melancon, has been pitching hurt to try and help a last-place team. That’s no longer the case. 

Melancon went on the DL on Wednesday morning and later had a PRP (platelet rich plasma) injection in his right arm to try and ease some of the discomfort in his pronator. He is expected to be out the rest of the first half. Melancon would be eligible to return with two games left until the break, but there’s no point in rushing him. He missed 12 games the first time this came up and he now has more than two weeks to rest before the second half kicks off. 

In the meantime, Sam Dyson is the closer, but he was unavailable Wednesday because of a heavy workload. So Bruce Bochy got creative to close out a 5-3 win over the Rockies. George Kontos came on for a sharp Ty Blach in the seventh and carried the lead to the eighth. Steven Okert got through the 26th out and Hunter Strickland came in to get Ian Desmond to fly out for his first save of the year. 

Because Bochy wanted Kontos to face Pat Valaika in the eighth, he got an at-bat 15 hours after Cory Gearrin got to take his hacks. It at first looked like Kontos had “don’t swing” orders, but he fouled a ball off. 

“The second fastball I got, if it was near the plate, I was going to swing,” he said. 

Kontos said he doesn’t have bragging rights over Gearrin because he fouled a ball off, noting that Gearrin is 1 for 2 in his career and he is 0 for 8. It turns out that they used the same bat, too. Yes, there is a Cory Gearrin model.

“It’s just been hanging out since last year,” Gearrin said, looking down at his equipment bag. “Just in case.”

--- Dan Slania woke up a 4:30, drove to Philadelphia, and boarded a flight that was went down through Nashville to fuel up. He arrived in San Francisco in time for the second inning. And then he watched, met with old teammates, showered … and prepared to fly all the way back to Pennsylvania. 

“I’m going to pass out as soon as I get on the plane,” Slania said. 

He wasn’t complaining at all. The Giants needed a potential innings-eater with Melancon on the DL, and if Slania is sent back down before Friday’s game, he’ll at least be back near Double-A Richmond and the flight back will have been taken on a chartered jet with a bunch of former teammates. Plus he gets a couple of service days. 

“I can tell you it’s well worth it,” Bochy said. 

--- The main story today is about Jae-gyun Hwang, who brought some more life to a team that got its first sweep of the year. The standings are what they are, but the Giants are playing much better, and some players started talking Wednesday about how they’re looking forward to being a spoiler for teams like the Rockies and Diamondbacks. 

More than anything, the players are just happy that they got to listen to the victory soundtrack again and walk out of this park with smiles. 

“We did a really good job of coming into this series and decided what the intent should be,” Nick Hundley said. “We weren’t going to worry about what’s been going on. You control what you can control. It’s nice when the results match up.”

There was a players-only meeting on Monday and Hundley said “everybody got on the same page again.”

Now the tricky part: Keeping it going on the road. 

--- Nolan Arenado is a freak and the Giants should give him a blank check, a ton of Facebook stock, and the rights to the Salesforce building when he’s a free agent in two and a half seasons. 

--- Ryder Jones is hitless in 16 at-bats but he was keeping his head up. He was an inch or two from a double down the line Wednesday and the Giants feel he’s having good at-bats. More than anything, he's not taking those results into the field and he talked about that at length when we sat down for a podcast the other day. If you subscribe on iTunes here, you’ll have it in the morning.