SAN FRANCISCO They bounded into the clubhouse for the champagne celebration, already wet. But then these Giants, the champions of the National League, aren't much for convention.
Down 2-0 in the division series, down 3-1 in the championship series, the Giants had done it the hard way all postseason. And then, in the first winner-take-all Game 7 in San Francisco in 50 years, against a St. Louis Cardinals team that has waited until its final strike to stage its greatest comebacks, the Giants stormed their way into the World Series with a 9-0 blowout Monday night.
Sheets of rain fell as Sergio Romo coaxed a popup out of Matt Holliday for the final out, bringing the Giants streaming out of the dugout. Game 1 against the Detroit Tigers is Wednesday at AT&T Park.
"I'm from the desert; I don't know a whole lot about rain," said Romo, standing in a corner of the clubhouse as the celebration unfolded in front of him. "But (I was) very, very happy and very proud to be called upon to get that last out, to be out there in the rain.
"It's just very fitting that it rained right there. The way everything has gone for us this season, the ups and downs, the injuries, the personal issues or whatever, what a ride for us all. It was very, very fitting."
Some may view the Tigers as a train picking up steam, given their vaunted rotation led by perhaps the most electrifying pitcher in baseball and their formidable lineup. Those people will be given pause.
The Giants who lost their closer in April and their top hitter in August, who ran away with the West while the rival Dodgers stockpiled talent, who have now faced elimination six times in these playoffs and beaten it back each time after not playing one do-or-die playoff game two years ago simply refuse to be written off.
"I'm freezing right now!" yelled second baseman Marco Scutaro, bound for his first World Series, as champagne dripped over his goggles.
Scutaro weathered Holliday's jarring Game 2 slide to become the biggest thorn in the Cardinals' side, going 14 for 28 in the series en route to series MVP honors and a Giants record for hits in a postseason series.
"This is a great feeling," said Scutaro, who also tied the NLCS record for hits. "As a baseball player, that's what you dream of, being in the World Series. I've seen guys play 15 years in the big leagues and never have this opportunity. I feel very lucky right now."
Scutaro's leadoff single in the third set the Giants' five-run inning in motion. Hunter Pence delivered the big hit, a bases-loaded double, in a way a delirious announced crowd of 43,056 might have chalked up to providence. He broke his bat on the swing, and on his follow-through, the barrel hit the ball a second time, then a third.
"Weird," Pence said. "But I was happy."
It would be 7-0 before the inning ended, plenty of cushion as the Cardinals' bats went silent over the final three games of the series, in which they were outscored 20-1.
"I think the momentum kind of shifted when we won Game 5 in St. Louis and came back here," said shortstop Brandon Crawford. "What was the slogan last year, two years ago, it's magic inside? We knew we had a chance when we brought it back home."
The Giants became the fifth N.L. team to come back from a 3-1 deficit to win a best-of-seven series. They joined the 1985 Kansas City Royals as the only major league teams to win six elimination games in one postseason.
"Finding a way to get it done just makes this so much more special, I think," said manager Bruce Bochy. "Because I do know we were written off so many times. But these guys, again, were relentless in getting it done. And they found a way."
Matt Cain was not at his sharpest, yet the Giants' ace departed after 5 2/3 innings and 102 pitches with a shutout intact, having stranded runners in each of the first four innings and struck out four.
Santiago Casilla and Javier Lopez combined to work the eighth. As Lopez came out for the ninth, rain began in earnest. With two outs and a runner on, Lopez walked Carlos Beltran, prompting Bochy to bring in Romo while the grounds crew poured dry dirt on the field.
"It never rains in San Francisco during the season," Crawford said, chuckling. "Then it just downpours on us. The crowd gets pumped up. It was kind of a storybook ending."
Holliday's popup, fittingly, came down into Scutaro's glove. The Giants stormed the field as the rain continued. Their parade goes on.