SAN FRANCISCO(AP) The Giants' dependable bullpen is a big reason San Francisco has been winning the close games lately.
hit his first home run of the season to give San Francisco the lead in the seventh,
doubled and scored twice and the Giants took the rubber game from the St. Louis Cardinals 5-3 on Sunday.
The victory gave the team a winning month of May at 15-14 and a 5-1 homestand.
(2-0) pitched 1 2-3 innings with a 1-2-3 seventh for the win as San Francisco improved to 6-1 in rubber games and 5-0 at home
in those contests. The Giants are 8-1 in home series this season.
to end the sixth,
with runners on first and second to end the eighth and
finished for his 12th save in 15 chances.
''Today, they saved us,'' manager
said of his relievers. ''We played good baseball this homestand coming off a tough trip. It's big for this ballclub to bounce
Pujols doubled, singled twice and scored a run after hitting two home runs in Saturday night's 6-2 victory and was 7-for-11
in the series. St. Louis had a chance in the eighth but
The Cardinals fell one game back of NL Central-leading Milwaukee heading into June after the Brewers beat Cincinnati 5-2.
St. Louis was trying to start June in first place for only the fourth time in
Tony La Russa
's managerial tenure - joining the 2000, '05 and '06 teams.
The Cardinals now head home from this six-game road trip for eight games in eight days at Busch Stadium.
hit a bases-loaded two-run double that gave St. Louis the lead in the fifth. But San Francisco got both runs back in the bottom
of the inning, on
's RBI groundout and
''We haven't been putting up eight runs a game,'' St. Louis shortstop
said. ''It'd be nice to give our starters a break. We haven't had that four- or five-run inning to put teams away. That's
what we need.''
Rowand extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a leadoff single in the first, then doubled in the fifth. He rolled his
right ankle but it wasn't considered serious. He will be re-evaluated once the team gets to Washington.
Aurilia, who entered in a double-switch in the fifth, singled and scored in the fifth then homered leading off the seventh
with a drive into the left-field bleachers off
(5-3) in his 65th at-bat of 2009. Pinch-hitter
provided insurance with a sacrifice fly in the eighth.
The Giants hope they can take some momentum from this homestand on their 10-game road trip after going 1-5 on the last out-of-town
''It's a long trip,'' Aurilia said. ''We're playing teams record-wise who are below us. This is a trip we should try to take
advantage of and have a winning record, not a .500 trip.''
Wainwright was tagged for 10 hits and lost for the first time in five road starts after going 3-0 to start the year away from
San Francisco starter
, who ended a six-start winless stretch last Monday against Atlanta, was done after only 4 1-3 innings for his second-shortest
outing of the year. But the pitchers who followed did their part.
Upgrading the bullpen was one of general manager Brian Sabean's top offseason priorities last winter.
''We knew it was one thing we needed to improve this offseason and we did,'' Aurilia said.
La Russa batted his pitcher eighth in all three games of the series and has done so every game since May 18. The team is 8-5
during that stretch.
Notes: St. Louis RHP
has been pushed back from his scheduled start Tuesday with soreness in his right forearm and is slated for Thursday against
the Reds as long he's medically cleared Monday in St. Louis. He was hit by a pitch by Kansas City's
will pitch instead, his first start of the season. ... Sandoval could be playing 1B for a while instead of 3B. 1B
doesn't provide as much offense as Sandoval, who returned to the lineup Friday from an elbow injury.