MLB Notebook: Team effort catapults Giants to Series
When it comes to winner-take-all Game 7s, a team shutout combined with every starter collecting at least one hit makes for a nice and efficient path to victory.
This particular template was first witnessed in the 1934 World Series, when the St. Louis Cardinals took on the Detroit Tigers at Navin Field in Detroit and waltzed to a dominating 11-0 win. Cardinals right-hander Dizzy Dean took St Louis all the way, limiting the Tigers to six hits in only the second shutout in a Game 7 for all the marbles.
Dean contributed with the bat as well, doubling once in a two-hit day at the plate. In addition to Dean's pair of hits, the Cardinals saw first baseman Ripper Collins contribute four of his own, leading a lineup that saw a total of five multihit efforts and five other players (including Chick Fullis, who replaced Ducky Medwick) record at least one hit.
A shutout on the mound, every starter -- including the pitcher -- with at least one hit, and a Game 7 victory; the postseason wouldn't see another effort like this until Monday night, when the Giants equaled the Gashouse Gang's feat with a 9-0 win over the Cardinals in Game 7 of the 2012 National League Championship Series.
National League Championship Series: Cardinals vs. Giants
With their triumph over the Cards, San Francisco claimed the NL pennant and advanced to the 108th World Series. Since 1903 (the year of the first World Series), the Giants have won 20 pennants -- the most for any NL team and second overall to the Yankees' 40.
The victory was the first for the Giants in a winner-take-all Game 7. They had previously lost in the 2002 World Series, the 1987 NLCS, the 1962 World Series and the 1924 World Series*.
The Cardinals fell to 11-5 in winner-take-all Game 7s. Before 2012, the last time they lost a Game 7 was a 15-0 setback to the Braves in the 1996 NLCS, a series in which St. Louis held a 3-1 lead before dropping the final three.
*The Giants also lost the eighth game played in the 1912 World Series. Game 2 was called before completion, with the score tied at 6. In the resulting winner-take-all Game 8 (or Game 7, if ignoring the tie) New York lost to the Red Sox, 3-2.
By winning three straight to close out the series, the Giants became the seventh team to win the pennant after trailing 3-1 in the LCS. They joined the 1985 Royals (down 3-1 to the Blue Jays), the 1986 Red Sox (down 3-1 to the Angels), the 1996 Braves, the 2003 Marlins (down 3-1 to the Cubs), the 2004 Red Sox (down 3-1 to the Yankees) and the 2007 Red Sox (down 3-1 to the Indians).
Matt Cain (5 2/3 innings, five hits) and four relievers combined on a seven-hit shutout for the victory. The shutout was the 14th in a winner-take-all Game 7. The first 13:
1909 World Series: the Pirates defeat the Tigers, 8-0
1934 World Series: the Cardinals defeat the Tigers, 11-0
1955 World Series: the Dodgers defeat the Yankees, 2-0
1956 World Series: the Yankees defeat the Dodgers, 9-0
1957 World Series: the Braves defeat the Yankees, 5-0
1962 World Series: the Yankees defeat the Giants, 1-0
1965 World Series: the Dodgers defeat the Twins, 2-0
1985 World Series: the Royals defeat the Cardinals, 11-0
1987 NLCS: the Cardinals defeat the Giants, 6-0
1988 NLCS: the Dodgers defeat the Mets, 6-0
1991 NLCS: the Braves defeat the Pirates, 4-0
1991 World Series: the Twins defeat the Braves, 1-0
1996 NLCS: the Braves defeat the Cardinals, 15-0
NLCS MVP Marco Scutaro went 3-for-4 with a run scored, capping a series in which he was 14-for-28 with three doubles, six runs and four RBIs.
Scutaro's three-hit game in the clincher gave him a single LCS record six multihit games. With five, he had been tied with Harold Baines (1992), Devon White (1993), Eddie Perez (1999), Albert Pujols (2004) and Kevin Youkilis (2007).
Scutaro extended his postseason hitting streak to 10 games, dating back to Game 3 of this year's NL Division Series. The 10-game hitting streak ties Scutaro with Alvin Dark (1951-54) and Cody Ross (2010) for the second longest in Giants history. Irish Meusel hit safely in 11 straight postseason games for the New York Giants in 1921-22.
Scutaro's 14 hits in this year's LCS tied the series record, shared by Pujols (2004), Hideki Matsui (2004) and Youkilis (2007).
Pablo Sandoval went 1-for-4 with a double and an RBI, driving in a run in his fifth straight game, which tied for the longest streak in Giants history. Barry Bonds had a streak of at least one RBI in five straight postseason games in 2002.
With Cain joining every starter with at least one hit, San Francisco finished the game with 14 hits, tied for the sixth most in a winner-take-all Game 7. The Cardinals had 17 in their win over the Tigers in the 1934 World Series, and the Braves had 17 in their victory over St. Louis in the 1996 NLCS.
Three other teams had 15 hits: the 1925 Pirates (World Series), the 1982 Cardinals (World Series) and the 2007 Red Sox (ALCS). The 1985 Royals had 14 hits in their Game 7 win over the Cardinals in the World Series.
Yadier Molina went 4-for-4 for the Cardinals, singling four times.
Molina is the 10th catcher in postseason history with a four-hit game, and the first to do it since Buster Posey in Game 4 of the 2010 NLCS. He is the first Cardinals catcher with a four-hit game since Joe Garagiola in Game 4 of the 1946 World Series.
Molina is the fifth player to have a four-hit game in a winner-take-all Game 7. The previous four players did it in a team victory. Those four: center fielder Max Carey (1925 World Series), first baseman Collins (1934 World Series), first baseman Willie Stargell (1979 World Series) and third baseman George Brett (1985 World Series).
Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.