The San Francisco Giants rallied to win six straight elimination games. After winning three straight on the road against the Cincinnati Reds in the NLDS, the Giants fell behind 3-1 in the best-of-seven NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Cardinals had one more game at home and the Giants' rallying cry was to get the series back to San Francisco. Barry Zito stepped up in Game 5 and pitched his most important game as a Giant. He shut down the vaunted Cardinals offense, throwing 7.2 innings for only six hits and no runs.
The Giants handed the ball to Ryan Vogelsong when they got home. In seven innings of work in Game 6, Vogelsong allowed only one run and had a career-high nine strikeouts.
With the series tied, it was Matt Cain up against Kyle Lohse in a matchup of 16-game winners. Cain came through with a gutty 5.2 innings of scoreless work before he was relieved by Jeremy Affeldt.
In the last 27 innings, the powerful Cardinals offense was held to just one run. In addition to some revitalized starting pitching, the Giants relievers did an incredible job. In 6.2 innings of work over the final three games, the Giants relief corps did not allow a run.
The Giants offense also woke up, led by Marco Scutaro. Giants GM Brian Sabean made a trade deadline deal to acquire Scutaro from the Colorado Rockies, and at the time many felt it was a good deal for a solid veteran player.
However, never in our wildest dreams could anyone have thought Scutaro would have made such an impact on the Giants. He won the NLCS MVP based on his performance on the field, as well his tremendous leadership and courage.
Scutaro was roll-blocked on—what many would consider—a dirty and very late slide by Matt Holliday in Game 2. It looked as though Scutaro was seriously injured at the time, but he stayed in to deliver a key double and two big RBI in the contest. Later in the game, Scutaro was forced to depart as the pain became unbearable.
There was a lot of speculation that Scutaro would miss some playing time, but there he was, ready for Game 3. The emotional lift that Scutaro gave the Giants cannot be measured by simple statistics.
The inspirational lift that Scutaro gave his team was matched only by his contribution on the field. Scutaro went 14-for-28 in the series for a .500 batting average. He also scored six runs and had four RBI.
The baseball gods were shining down on Scutaro as he caught a pop-up off the bat of Matt Holliday for the final out of the series.
Scutaro is the 2012 NLCS MVP, and deservedly so.
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