The San Francisco Giants advanced to the World Series Monday, blasting last year’s champion, the St. Louis Cardinals, 9-0 in Game 7 of the NLCS on a rainy night in northern California.
Pitcher Matt Cain shut down the Cardinals to win his second clinching game of the playoffs and the Giants used deft batting to make it a night that was mostly a coronation of their comeback from being down 3-1 in the series.
San Francisco won its record-tying sixth elimination game of the postseason, with second baseman Marco Scutaro capturing the series MVP.
The Giants are just one year removed from winning the World Series. This time, they will have to go through Detroit, which will trot out AL MVP and Cy Young winner Justin Verlander in Game 1 of the 2013 World Series Wednesday in San Francisco.
Scutaro produced his sixth multi-hit game of the series and matched an LCS record with 14 hits and Pablo Sandoval drove in a run for his fifth straight game.
“These guys never quit,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “They just kept believing and they got it done.”After falling behind 3-1 in the series at Busch Stadium, the Giants outscored the wild-card Cardinals 20-1 over the final three games behind stellar starting pitching from Barry Zito, Ryan Vogelsong and Cain.
They also benefited from some strange bounces.On Hunter Pence’s double that highlighted a five-run third, his bat broke at the label on impact, then the broken barrel hit the ball twice more. That put a rolling, slicing spin on the ball and caused it to change directions — leaving shortstop Pete Kozma little chance to make the play. Kozma broke to his right, figuring that’s where the ball would go, but it instead curved to left-center.
And the way Cain pitched, that was the ballgame. The Giants and more than 45,000 fans celebrated wildly in a driving downpour.
“This rain never felt so good,” Scutaro said.