Monday, December 9, 2013
The Associated Press
SAN FRANCISCO — In a postseason full of twists and turns, the San Francisco Giants are headed back to the World Series after a big comeback against the defending champs.
It was pouring when the game ended, but that didn’t dampen the celebration for the Giants after they beat St. Louis 9-0 in Game 7 of the NL championship series to advance to the World Series against the Detroit Tigers.
The Associated Press
San Francisco Giants' Hunter Pence hits a three-run double during the third inning of Game 7 of the National League championship series against the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday in San Francisco.
The Associated Press
WHO: Detroit Tigers at San Francisco Giants
GAME 1: 8:07 p.m. Wednesday
Hunter Pence got the Giants going with a weird double, Matt Cain pitched his second clincher of October and San Francisco closed out Game 7 of the NL championship series in a driving rainstorm, routing the St. Louis Cardinals 9-0 Monday night.
San Francisco won its record-tying sixth elimination game of the postseason, completing a lopsided rally from a 3-1 deficit.
The Giants, who won it all in 2010, will host Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera and the Detroit Tigers in Game 1 on Wednesday night.
Verlander is set to pitch Wednesday’s opener. Giants Manager Bruce Bochy insisted before Monday’s game he had not planned beyond the NLCS.
Series MVP Marco Scutaro produced his sixth multihit game of the series and matched an LCS record with 14 hits, and Pablo Sandoval drove in a run for his fifth straight game.
After falling behind 3-1 in the series with losses in Games 3 and 4 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 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.
Injured closer Brian Wilson, with that out-of-control bushy black beard, danced in the dugout and fans in the sellout crowd of 43,056 kept twirling their orange rally towels even through rain in the late innings – a downright downpour when Sergio Romo retired Matt Holliday on a popup to Scutaro to end it.
Romo embraced catcher Buster Posey as fireworks went off over McCovey Cove beyond right field.
The NL West champion Giants won their first postseason clincher at home since the 2002 NLCS, also against the Cardinals.
These 2012 Giants have a couple pretty talented castoffs of their own not so different from that winning combination of 2010 “castoffs and misfits”, as Bochy referred to his bunch – with Scutaro right there at the top of the list this time around.
Acquired July 27 from the division rival Colorado Rockies, Scutaro hit .500 (14 for 28) with four RBI in the NLCS. The 36-year-old journeyman infielder, playing in his second postseason and first since 2006 with Oakland, became the first player in major league history with six multihit games in an LCS.
Now, he’s headed to his first World Series.
After rain fell on the Cardinals during batting practice, the skies turned blue and the weather cooperated. Anxious players on both sides hung over the dugout rails as the game began.
Cain joined Chris Carpenter of the Cardinals as the only pitchers with victories in two winner-take-all games in the same postseason. Carpenter, who lost Games 2 and 6 in this series, did it last year.
Cain also pitched the Giants’ Game 5 division series clincher at Cincinnati, when San Francisco became the first team in major league history to come back from an 0-2 deficit in a five-game series by winning three consecutive road games.
He delivered on an even bigger stage Monday as San Francisco saved its season once again. The Giants won their 20th NL pennant and reached their 19th World Series.
Cain walked off the mound to a standing ovation when Jeremy Affeldt entered with two outs in the sixth. Affeldt then got Daniel Descalso to pop out with two runners on.
Cain allowed five hits, struck out four and walked one.
Yadier Molina had four hits but got little help from the rest of the Cardinals, who went 1 for 21 with runners in scoring position over their final three games.