DETROIT — Marco Scutaro was with the Red Sox when they collapsed at the end of last season, calling that terrible September one of the worst times of his career. That Sox team, he believed, was capable of great things.
Scutaro, who was playing with an arm injury, wasn’t to blame. He hit .387 with a 1.019 OPS that month and was one of the few who played with any sense of purpose.
A year and two trades later, Scutaro sits atop the baseball world. His RBI single in the top of the 10th inning on Sunday night gave the San Francisco Giants a 4-3 victory against the Detroit Tigers and the World Series title.
Scutaro’s two-out single to center off Phil Coke scored Ryan Theriot with the winning run. Sergio Romo then finished off the Tigers by striking out the side.
“Incredible, incredible,” Scutaro said. “After last year and everything else, I never thought something like this would happen.”
It was the seventh championship in franchise history for the Giants, their second in the last three years.
“Our team has done some special things. It’s a joy,” said general manager Brian Sabean, a New Hampshire native. “We could have been knocked out so many times.”
San Francisco won seven consecutive games to close the season, staving off elimination in the National League Championship Series against the Cardinals before sweeping the Tigers. They outscored St. Louis and Detroit 36-7 in those games.
“That’s what it makes so much special, the way we did it,” Scutaro said. “We’re always against the wall and my team, it just came through first series, second series and now we sweep the Tigers.”
Scutaro hit .328 with eight RBIs and 11 runs scored in 16 postseason games. It was the end of a journey that saw the Sox trade him to the Rockies in January before he was then sent to the Giants in July.
He hit .362 for the Giants in the regular season and continued that in the playoffs, getting named the Most Valuable Player of the NLCS. Pablo Sandoval was the MVP of the Series, but it was Scutaro who had the biggest hit.
“I knew he was a good player, but to get this many clutch hits? It was fitting that he got the game-winning hit,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “Marco is the guy you want up there. You know he’s probably going to put the ball in play.”
Scutaro turns 38 on Tuesday. He has played 11 seasons in the majors with six teams and has played seven different positions. Scutaro is one of baseball’s grinders, a guy who makes the best of whatever situation he is in.
Red Sox players enjoyed having him around, as did the Rockies and Giants. Because second base is now his best position, it’s uncertain how much of a difference Scutaro would have made on the 2013 Red Sox. But he was perfect for the Giants.
“Everybody was so mad last year,” he said. “Now this. It’s crazy.”