- Kelley L. Cox/US PRESSWIRE
- On the hunt: After a poor start to the NL Championsip Series, the Giants’ Hunter Pence delivered in Game 7 with two hits, two runs batted in and a broken bat.
Anyone previously doubting the existence of the oft-referenced “baseball gods” had no choice but to stop doubting as a magical Monday night unfolded on the shores of McCovey Cove.
They had to become full-on converts, so steadfast in their awe of such gods that the only logical response was to craft a sandwich board to wear on Market Street and bray at any and all passers-by: “I BELIEVE!!!”
So, too, did anyone questioning the power of chemistry and the existence of momentum have to rethink said stance.
Only otherworldly beings could come up with the Barry Zito-to-Ryan Vogelsong-to-Matt Cain connection.
Only a crazy-good chemist concocts the Marco Scutaro-Hunter Pence potion.
And only a fool would dismiss the role momentum played in the extended exercise in unbridled joy that was the
Game 7 blowout that capped the Giants’ second three-game cheat of October’s big-league reaper.
Baseball gods? Yeah, they were present at AT&T Park, all right.
How else do you explain Matt Holliday coming to the plate to lead off an inning against Cain with the Giants holding a seven-run lead that might as well have been 70?
After making Holliday look as overmatched as a lab rat in a python cage while running the count to 0-2, satisfying the requirement of some sort of facade before what followed, Cain exacted the long-awaited revenge for Holliday’s bush-league slide into Scutaro with a four-seam, four-letter-followed-by-“you” fastball to the shoulder.
Thought he wouldn’t? Don’t let the humble aw-shucks, family-man act fool you. Cain has a mean streak in him a country mile long, and the gods set him up to walk that mile Monday.
Just as they set up Zito for his mind-bending season-saver Friday.
Just as they set up Vogelsong to be rewarded for his years of heartache and perseverance.
Just as they set up Cain, the rock of the rotation, to shine one more time in front of the fans who expect perfection from him just about every time out.
And yes, it was the baseball gods who set up those same fans, finally, for the explosion of sound and furious fun that comes only with the final out of an epic series-clinching victory.
Chemistry? The gods dabble in that discipline, too.
Witness Pence, whose clubhouse and dugout preaching paved the way for the NL Division Series comeback against the Reds, being granted the honor of Monday’s biggest hit, a freakish, “Two-Chip” Chen double — Google the reference and thank me later if you don’t get it — as part of a two-hit night that permanently erased any memory of his previous playoff struggles.
And was that an MVP trophy that Scutaro held aloft to the delight of a deliriously drenched crowd, or was it a laboratory beaker?
Scutaro, the former bit player dubbed “Blockbuster” in honor of the impact he made upon arriving via one of Brian Sabean’s classic under-the-radar deadline deals, had as much to do with the team’s unparalleled chemistry and cohesion as anyone who spent the whole season in orange and black.
Those who question the importance of team chemistry like to say it’s simply the product of winning, but Scutaro’s presence forces reconsideration.
The Giants, to a man, will tell you a major motivational factor Monday was getting “Blockbuster” to the Big Show, the World Series.
Momentum? Do we really need to even lay it all out? The St. Louis Cardinals never had a chance.
Did you really think St. Louis was going to bounce back from blowing a shot at winning this thing at home, against the much-maligned Zito?
Did you think for a second they’d retrieve their bats after Vogelsong shoved them where bats don’t belong?
Against Cain? In San Francisco?
If you did, shame on you. You should know better by now.
And stay out of the rain. The baseball gods might just be looking to strike you down.
Mychael Urban, host of “Inside The Bigs” (9 a.m. to noon Saturdays) on 95.7 FM The Game, can be followed on Twitter @BigUrbSports. His website is UrbsUnchained.com.