Can't miss Scutaro's impact in Giants win

October, 23, 2012
10/23/12
1:07
AM ET

AP Photo/David PhillipMarco Scutaro had a picture-perfect swing in this year's NLCS.
The 2012 National League Championship Series ended with Giants second baseman Marco Scutaro catching the final out in a driving rainstorm.

It capped the most memorable of weeks for Scutaro and his teammates. It was one that didn't start well, with the Cardinals nearly delivering a knockout blow in the first four games.

In Scutaro's case, he was nearly knocked out of the series by a Matt Holliday slide trying to break up a double play.

But it ended with he and his teammates singing a championship tune in the rain.

Scutaro went from being a member of the cellar-dwelling Colorado Rockies to being one of the pivotal players in helping the Giants reach the World Series, where they'll face the Detroit Tigers.

This will be the Giants' 19th World Series appearance, second-most all-time, trailing only the 40 by the Yankees.

Let's take a look inside their NLCS win.

The History
The Giants became the second team to win six straight elimination games in a single postseason, joining the 1985 Royals.

They are the seventh team to overcome a 3-1 deficit in the league championship series, the first since the 2007 Red Sox.

It marked the first time in team history that the Giants won a winner-take-all Game 7. They had lost their previous five.

The win also snapped the Cardinals' six-game winning streak in winner-take-all games, tied for the longest such streak in major league history.

The Cardinals now have blown 3-games-to-1 leads four times -- in the 1968 and 1985 World Series, and the 1996 and 2012 NLCS.

The MVP
Scutaro won NLCS MVP honors after hitting .500 in the series. That’s tied for the second-highest batting average in a postseason series in Giants history.

Scutaro tied a postseason single-series record with 14 hits in the LCS, matching a mark reached three times previously.

Only six players who were midseason acquisitions have won a postseason MVP award. Scutaro joins Donn Clendenon (1969 New York Mets), Rickey Henderson (1989 Athletics), Mike Devereaux (1995 Atlanta Braves), David Justice (2000 New York Yankees) and Cody Ross (2010 San Francisco Giants).

Scutaro was the best hitter in the majors this season when it came to swing-and-miss avoidance.

Scutaro missed on only 5.6 percent of his swings in the regular season.

He was even better in the LCS.

Scutaro took 43 swings against Cardinals pitching. He had seven times as many hits as he did swings-and-misses (2).

Supporting Cast
The Giants got hits in important spots from the likes of Scutaro and third baseman Pablo Sandoval.

Sandoval was an MVP candidate as well. He has an RBI in five straight games, matching a Giants postseason record set by Barry Bonds in 2002.

How They Won
The Giants won in a manner similar to how the Detroit Tigers swept the Yankees in the American League Championship Series -- with great pitching.

Starters Barry Zito, Ryan Vogelsong and Matt Cain combined to allow one run over the final three games.

The Giants got outs when they needed them most. The Cardinals were 1-for-21 with runners in scoring position in the final three games.

Cardinals hitters had trouble catching up to fastballs in the last three games, missing on them at a rate of once about every five swings. In the regular season, they missed on them at a rate of once for every six swings.

The Cardinals scored one run or fewer in each of their final three games of the NLCS.

This is the third time in franchise history they have scored one run or fewer in three straight postseason games in a single postseason.

The others were in the 1985 World Series against the Royals and the 1996 NLCS against the Braves.

They blew a 3-1 series lead in each instance.

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