SAN FRANCISCO -- By the end of the NLCS, Marco Scutaro needed a cape and his own thundering theme music.

Because he's a Playoff Superhero now, an October legend, a tall tale in real life, if not actual measurement.

Mild-mannered Marco Scutaro is ... MVP magic.

He even performed his own slow-motion victory montages during the Giants' triumphal 9-0 pennant-clinching victory at AT&T Park in Game 7 on Monday.

The first came when he grabbed a wicked grounder hit by Pete Kozma in the top of the fourth, with the Giants up 7-0.

Scutaro snared the ball with a scoop then waved his arms in theatrical joy before throwing to first for the out.

"I'm just enjoying this moment, man," Scutaro said when I asked him about it amid the champagne dousings in the Giants clubhouse.

"When things are going good, you've got to enjoy it right?"

Scutaro, the least brash of any of the Giants regulars, had earned every bit of that, and more, and then he did more.

He hit a ridiculous .500 in the series (14 for 28) and has hit safely in the Giants' last 10 playoff games (out of 12 this season).

So if he wants to dance, he can dance any time he wants. The Giants are in the World Series for the second time in three years, but Scutaro, 36, is making the trip for the first time in his career.

The moment was his.

"That's him," victorious starter Matt Cain said warmly of Scutaro's gesture. "He wasn't trying to do anything crazy.

"But Kozma hit a scud to him and he picked it really well, and it just kind of happened real good."

Then in the last moments of the game, as hard rain fell and St. Louis was down to its last outs, Scutaro took a few seconds to twirl at second base, lean back and gobble up some raindrops.

It looked poetic, not arrogant. It was Scutaro, and it was perfect.

"It was weird, man," Scutaro said. "It never rains here in the Bay Area, right? Tonight was like, I guess that was the place."

And he was the man, unquestionably, of this series.

Scutaro was named MVP of the NLCS in a vote that was so obvious that it could've been handed to him during the third inning.

That's when the Giants scored five runs -- to stretch their lead to an insurmountable 7-0 -- against three St. Louis pitchers and the Cardinals' hapless defense.

Scutaro, of course, led off that decisive 20-minute inning with a sharp single to right field and scored, then came up again and walked.

Scutaro got on base an amazing 16 times in this series, a one-little-man wrecking crew.





What happened to turn you into Ted Williams, Marco?

"Just try to see the ball and hit it," Scutaro said. "You know how baseball is. Sometimes you feel good, sometimes you don't."

More Scutaro serendipity: The game and series ended with Matt Holliday popping out to Scutaro, who caught it probably 10 feet from where Holliday pummeled him in Game 2.

A few innings earlier, Cain had hit Holliday in the shoulder, a pitch that was relatively clear evidence that the Giants had a score to settle for their second baseman.

I asked Scutaro, was that Cain standing up for you there?

"I don't know," Scutaro said with a big smile. "Let's go ask him."

So I did: Matt Cain, even with the series decided and the Cardinals all but defeated, were you determined to make sure you had Scutaro's back?

"Oh, I mean our whole team was," Cain said. "That's a spot where it was a hard slide into second, so I think our whole team had his back."

The clubhouse loves Scutaro, partly because he has played so well since arriving in a July 27 trade from Colorado for Charlie Culberson.

Note: Scutaro is on the streak of his life starting in September.

With three more hits Monday, Scutaro tied the LCS record of 14 hits -- previously done before only by Hideki Matsui, Albert Pujols and Kevin Youkilis.

He also hit safely in 20 consecutive games to end the regular season and raised his batting average from .289 to .306 in the process.

But Scutaro is also vastly popular because of his quiet confidence and wry sensibility.

So will he stay this hot in the World Series -- which starts Wednesday at AT&T Park -- against the Detroit Tigers?

"I want to," Scutaro said. "But it's a feeling -- sometimes it goes away and takes a while before it comes back."

He has the feeling now. He has it more than almost anybody in the playoffs has ever had it.

His teammates know it, and they just want it to keep going. This is his place, his moment, and his time in the rain. He just keeps twirling and soaking it up.

Read Tim Kawakami's Talking Points blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/kawakami. Contact him at tkawakami@mercurynews.com.

Game 7 R H E
Cardinals 0 7 2
Giants 9 14 0

WP: Matt Cain (1-1) LP: Kyle Lohse (1-1)

matt cain » Giants pitcher adds to his growing legend with victory in Game 7 and also leaves parting gift for Cardinals slugger Matt Holliday.

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