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Record-setting effort nets Scutaro NLCS MVP

SAN View Full Game Coverage FRANCISCO -- While the candidates were debating for the presidency on Monday night, Marco Scutaro was leaving no room for debate in the National League Championship Series.

The Giants second baseman ran -- and hit and fielded -- unopposed for Most Valuable Player of the NLCS, crowning what had already appeared to be a foregone conclusion with a record sixth multihit performance in San Francisco's 9-0 pennant-clinching Game 7 victory over the Cardinals at AT&T Park.

If there was an instant in this remarkable odyssey worthy of being permanently frozen in the mind's eye -- it was of Scutaro standing at his position under the ninth-inning deluge, tilting his body and spreading his arms skyward.

Mashing Marco
Most hits in a single LCS
Player Team Series G H
Marco Scutaro S.F. 2012 NLCS 7 14
Kevin Youkilis Bos. 2007 ALCS 7 14
Hideki Matsui NYY 2004 ALCS 7 14
Albert Pujols Stl. 2004 NLCS 7 14
Javy Lopez Atl. 1996 NLCS 7 13
Will Clark S.F. 1989 NLCS 5 13
David Freese Stl. 2011 NLCS 6 12
David Ortiz Bos. 2004 ALCS 7 12
Mark Lemke Atl. 1996 NLCS 7 12
Tim Raines CWS 1993 ALCS 6 12
Devon White Tor. 1993 ALCS 6 12
Jay Bell Pit. 1991 NLCS 7 12

"I was just enjoying the moment," Scutaro said. "When things are going good, you've got to enjoy it, right? It never rains like that here in the Bay Area. Tonight, it did for us.

"This rain never felt so good. Being here, going to the World Series, National League champs, enjoying this moment with my family, all my teammates, this is unbelievable."

For seven games, it rained Scutaro base hits.

As the 36-year-old previously obscure veteran exulted after every hit and flawlessly executed defensive play, his spirit soared far above his mile-high altitude as a member of the Rockies until the July 26 trade that brought him to his personal promised land.

Scutaro's 3-for-4 effort raised his toll to an LCS-record-tying 14 hits as he batted .500 (14-for-28) in leading the G-Men's charge back to the Fall Classic.

The 14 hits tied the record for an LCS shared by the Yankees' Hideki Matsui, St. Louis' Albert Pujols and Boston's Kevin Youkilis.

Coming on the heels of a quintet of two-hit games, Scutaro's six multihit games in the series set an LCS record, breaking the previous standard of five shared by five: Harold Baines in 1992, Devon White in 1993, Eddie Perez in 1999, Pujols in 2004 and Youkilis in 2007.

NLCS MVP Award winners
Year Player Team
2012 Marco Scutaro Giants
2011 David Freese Cardinals
2010 Cody Ross Giants
2009 Ryan Howard Phillies
2008 Cole Hamels Phillies
2007 Matt Holliday Rockies
2006 Jeff Suppan Cardinals
2005 Roy Oswalt Astros
2004 Albert Pujols Cardinals
2003 Ivan Rodriguez Marlins
2002 Benito Santiago Giants
2001 Craig Counsell D-backs
2000 Mike Hampton Mets
1999 Eddie Perez Braves
1998 Sterling Hitchcock Padres
1997 Livan Hernandez Marlins
1996 Javy Lopez Braves
1995 Mike Devereaux Braves
1993 Curt Schilling Phillies
1992 John Smoltz Braves
1991 Steve Avery Braves
1990 Rob Dibble, Randy Myers Reds
1989 Will Clark Giants
1988 Orel Hershiser Dodgers
1987 Jeffrey Leonard Giants
1986 Mike Scott Astros
1985 Ozzie Smith Cardinals
1984 Steve Garvey Padres
1983 Gary Matthews Phillies
1982 Darrell Porter Cardinals
1981 Burt Hooton Dodgers
1980 Manny Trillo Phillies
1979 Willie Stargell Pirates
1978 Steve Garvey Dodgers
1977 Dusty Baker Dodgers

"It's great to see somebody get locked in and stay locked in for a series," said Will Clark, the onetime first-base great, now on the Giants' staff as a special assistant. "To see a guy go out there and hit line drive after line drive after line drive, that is a true professional doing his craft. From my perspective, it is very refreshing to see."

"He was the rock for us. He was the foundation," said Giants outfielder Hunter Pence. "He started all of this. The guy's an incredible man. His importance showed it all. We feel he's the MVP. He's carried us, and it's pretty incredible."

Naming rights for the NLCS MVP Award are still available, and you could do worse than making it the Brian Sabean Award. Scutaro is the second straight midseason acquisition by the San Francisco GM to earn it for the Giants.

In 2010, the hardware went to Cody Ross, whom the Giants had claimed on waivers from the Marlins in late August. Ross batted .350, with three home runs, in that October's six-game victory over Philadelphia.

By turning into Super Marco following Matt Holliday's memorable slide into him early in Game 2 -- the second baseman went 12-for-23 after that -- Scutaro erased a lot of personal postseason frustration.

His NLCS brilliance obscured the fact he had batted .150 (3-for-20) in the NL Division Series against the Cincinnati Reds. And in his only prior chance to play for an entry into the World Series, he had gone 1-for-15 (.067) in the 2006 ALCS as his A's were swept by the Tigers.

"When I woke up this morning, I just told myself that whatever happens today, I'm just going to try to enjoy this moment and just go out there and have fun," Scutaro said. "After we were up eight runs or nine, something like that, in the ninth inning, Game 7 ... I mean I just had so much stuff going through my head, just unbelievable."

Scutaro will turn 37 on Oct. 30 -- between Games 5 and 6 of the World Series. Don't bother shopping for a gift. He already has it.

"Just to be part of this team and just being in the playoffs and having the opportunity to live this experience for me is unbelievable," Scutaro said. "I never had this opportunity to be in a World Series. And now I'm going to be in the World Series."

"And this little gift right here," he added, holding up his MVP trophy, "makes it special."

San Francisco Giants, Marco Scutaro