Click photo to enlarge

SAN FRANCISCO -- Injured closer Brian Wilson, his beard dripping with rain and champagne, called what he had just witnessed a "storybook moment." The moment came with one of the stranger atmospheres this sport has ever seen.

On a night when Hunter Pence hit a pitch three times and Brandon Crawford seemed to abruptly add two inches to his glove, players marveled the most at a deluge of rain that turned AT&T Park into a Hollywood set in the ninth inning.

"That didn't make any sense," said pitcher Matt Cain, who has lived in the city for much of his Giants tenure. "We haven't had rain like that for a long time. It just seemed kind of odd."

The moment itself is one rarely seen on a baseball field. After threats of rain throughout the day -- and a brief flurry during batting practice -- the Giants and St. Louis Cardinals mostly played Game 7 of the National League Championship Series under clear skies. As the clinching moment approached, however, the skies opened up.

With the Giants leading 9-0, there was no way the umpires were delaying this one. When manager Bruce Bochy called for Sergio Romo to get the final out, members of the grounds crew ran onto the field, but not with a tarp. They quickly tried to rebuild the mound and the area around home plate. They spread dirt across the infield where massive puddles were forming.


Advertisement

Romo, who grew up in Brawley and now lives in Mesa, Ariz., watched in amusement.

"I couldn't really believe it," he said. "I'm from the desert. I don't get too much rain, but it definitely seemed very fitting."

Romo wasn't the only one who had a hard time believing the endless downpour he was seeing. The Giants' roster is filled with longtime Bay Area residents, and they couldn't remember steady streams like the ones that covered the final inning and championship celebration.

"It was kind of weird. It never rains here in the Bay Area," said Marco Scutaro, the series MVP. "I spent four years in Oakland and I don't think it rained once."

Cain said he could only remember a downpour like that one other time, and it occurred during a spring training game in Arizona. Brandon Crawford, a Bay Area native, said the moment summed up the Giants' improbable run to the World Series.

"It never rains like that here," Crawford said. "We were out there standing in puddles of water."

That presented a practical problem, too. When Romo came in to face Matt Holliday, Crawford said he was hoping for a strikeout. The fielders had little footing if they needed to move more than a few feet.

As the grounds crew went to work to make to make a little easier for the Giants on the field, the crowd got louder and louder with each increase in the downpour.

"That was really unique," Pence said. "I've never seen anyone cheer for rain like that."

At first base, a soaked Brandon Belt tried to soak it all in, even as he wondered how much longer the umpires could allow this to go on. Belt has seen his share of storms in Texas, but . . .

"We don't play baseball in it," he said. "We get off the field as soon as possible."

Romo didn't get a strikeout, but did get a popup. The Giants mobbed each other behind second base and stood in the rain for another 20 minutes during a trophy presentation.

They were soaked and they didn't care one bit. Afterward, however, one Giant admitted that he had one regret from one of the wettest moments in baseball history.

"It was pretty cool," Pence said. "But I think it could have been really fun it someone had to make a diving catch. That would have been some slide."

For more on the Giants, see Alex Pavlovic's Giants Extra blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/Giants. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/AlexPavlovic.