DETROIT -- No doubt Marco Scutaro had waited a long time for the at-bat. Days before, the 36-year-old journeyman infielder had caught the final out to send himself and the Giants, his sixth major-league team, into the World Series. Sunday night, he came up with a runner on second and two outs in the 10th inning of a tied game, and delivered a signature line drive up the middle that will forever have its own place in Giants lore.
Scutaro's single off Detroit Tigers closer Phil Coke became the go-ahead hit in Game 4 of the World Series as Ryan Theriot slid across home plate and went into a crouch, both fists clenched. It became the Series-winning hit as Sergio Romo struck out the side in the bottom of the 10th, getting Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera for the final out.
For the second time in three years, the San Francisco Giants are the kings of baseball. For the first time in franchise history since 1954, they did it in a sweep, finishing the Tigers in four games.
Romo threw a two-strike fastball past a frozen Cabrera to end it. Catcher Buster Posey exploded out of his crouch and sprinted for Romo, who pumped his arms and screamed. At first base, Brandon Belt threw his glove into the air. Near second, Scutaro sank to his knees and pointed at the sky before jumping into the arms of center fielder Angel Pagan, who had risen both arms to the heavens as the game ended. They melded near the pitcher's mound into a teeming mass, Hunter Pence hatless, the top buttons of his jersey hanging open, bumping into whomever he could find.
For manager Bruce Bochy and 11 members of the Giants' roster, it is the second World Series title in three years. For Theriot, a member of last year's St. Louis Cardinals, it is his second in two years with two teams. For journeymen Ryan Vogelsong and Scutaro, it is their first championship, the reward for year after year that ended in heartbreak or faded unfulfilled into another off-season.
Theriot started the 10th with a bloop single off Coke and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Brandon Crawford. After Pagan struck out, Scutaro came up with the biggest hit of his career, bigger than any of his record-tying 14 that helped the resilient Giants overcome their 3-1 deficit in the National League Championship Series.
The Giants fell behind 3-1 to the red-hot Cardinals in the championship series, and then rolled off seven wins in a row. Beginning in Game 5 of the NLCS, they went 56 innings without trailing, four innings shy of the longest such streak in history, a streak that ended in the third inning Sunday night.
The Giants took an early lead in the second inning when Pence hit a ground-rule double to left-center and scored on a triple by Belt. It was Belt's first hit of the series, as he whipped around on an inside fastball and hit it off the wall in right, and Pence galloped across home plate pumping both his fists.
It also gave an early lead to Matt Cain, the Giants' ace and the winning pitcher in the clinching games of both the division and championship series. For two games, the Giants' pitching had held the Tigers scoreless, their starters allowing one run in the series. That streak was snapped on a third-inning breaking ball from Cain to Cabrera.
With one on and two outs, Cabrera hit a high fly ball to right field. Pence drifted back onto the warning track, ran into the wall and looked around as if surprised to find it there. The ball, seemingly caught up in the winds above Comerica Park, landed in the right-field seats, giving the Tigers a 2-1 lead.
Just the third hit of the series for Cabrera, it was the first extra-base hit for the Tigers since Delmon Young's double in Game 2, on which Prince Fielder tried to score from first base and was thrown out at home.
As steady rain begin to fall on a cold night in Detroit, Tigers right-hander Max Scherzer kept the Giants in check until the sixth, when Scutaro hit a chopper down the third base line on which Cabrera, charging, could not get a grip. Scherzer struck out the torrid Pablo Sandoval, bringing Posey to the plate.
Perhaps no player better embodied the Giants' resiliency this season than Posey, the 25-year-old catcher who came back from a horrific ankle injury to lead baseball in hitting and become a frontrunner for the MVP. In a 1-0 count, Posey unloaded on a changeup from Scherzer and hooked it just inside the left-field foul pole, a couple rows back, for a two-run homer.
Circling the bases, Posey held one finger aloft, the moment reminiscent of his backbreaking grand slam in the clinching game of the division series against Cincinnati. But this was a narrower lead, one run, and one Cain could not hold in the bottom half.
After Cain struck out Cabrera and got Prince Fielder to pop out in shallow center field, Delmon Young drove a first-pitch breaking ball over Pence's head into the right-field seats to tie the game.
Bochy, though, sent Cain back out for the seventh, and the right-hander retired the side in order. On his 102nd and final pitch of the night, Cain threw a 91 mph fastball past Austin Jackson to end the inning and hopped off the mound.
It was the final pitch of the season for Cain. The big right-hander logged 249 1/3 innings counting the postseason, the strikeout of Jackson his 213th.
In the eighth, Bochy turned to Jeremy Affeldt, the veteran left-hander who had not allowed a run in 8 2/3 innings in the playoffs. Affeldt walked Avisail Garcia to start the inning, then mowed down the middle of the Tigers' order, getting Cabrera and Young to swing at sliders diving at their back feet and blowing a fastball by Fielder.
Phil Coke matched Affeldt in the top of the ninth, striking out Pence, Belt and Gregor Blanco in order. But he couldn't escape the 10th.