The San Francisco Giants hope their latest victory will provide some much-needed momentum as they begin a difficult stretch of games.
Returning to the place where they began their undefeated run to the 2012 World Series title, the Giants face the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday night.
San Francisco (29-25) has lost 10 of 16, but hopes to build on Thursday's 5-2 win over Oakland that prevented a season series sweep at the hands of its Bay Area rival."If this game got away from us, it would have been a long flight to St. Louis, believe me," manager Bruce Bochy said. "I thought (Thursday) was really critical."
Pablo Sandoval delivered a go-ahead two-run single to highlight a four-run sixth for the Giants, who remain confident despite their recent struggles.
"We've been losing some games but the attitude's been good. That's one thing we never lose," center fielder Angel Pagan told the Giants' official website. "We play with a lot of perseverance and determination to go out there and try to get everything better and play hard and believe that things will change."
Perhaps a return to Busch Stadium will help San Francisco start to string together wins yet again.
The Giants trailed the Cardinals 3-1 in last year's NL championship series but ran off seven straight victories to win the World Series, starting with a 5-0 win at Busch in Game 5.
St. Louis (35-18), however, owns the best record in the majors and outscored the Giants 20-7 while taking two of three at San Francisco in early April. This series begins a stretch of 12 of 14 on the road for the Giants, featuring games against the NL's top teams in the Cardinals, Arizona, Pittsburgh and Atlanta. San Francisco also hosts Toronto for two games during that span.
"We have to be on top of our game," Bochy said.
San Francisco's Matt Cain (4-2, 5.00 ERA) has gone 4-0 with a 3.48 ERA in five starts this month, allowing four runs and six hits in 12 innings to go 1-0 in his last two. He gave up two runs and walked five in five innings of a 7-3 win over Colorado on Sunday.
However, the right-hander is 0-3 with a 7.04 ERA in four starts at St. Louis, including postseason. He allowed nine runs over 3 2-3 innings of a 14-3 home loss to the Cardinals on April 7.
Matt Carpenter is 7 for 9 with a home run against Cain, and has batted .395 during an overall nine-game hitting streak.
Carpenter went 2 for 4 in Thursday's 4-2 loss to Kansas City that ended after 3 a.m. Central Time due to an hour rain delay to start and one of 4 hours, 32 minutes in the ninth inning. The Cardinals led 2-1 heading into the ninth, but fell to 20-7 in May.
St. Louis' Shelby Miller (5-3, 2.02) allowed one run and struck out 24 in 20 2-3 innings while going 2-0 in his first three May starts, but he's given up six runs in 11 innings to go 0-1 in the last two.
The right-hander allowed three runs in 5 1-3 innings of a 5-3 win at Dodger Stadium on Sunday.
"I don't think my fastball was as good as it had been earlier on (in the season)," Miller told the Cardinals' official website. "I feel just a little off, but not much. Hopefully I can get that taken care of."
He allowed two runs and walked four in 5 1-3 innings of a 6-3 win at San Francisco on April 6.
Including postseason, Sandoval has batted .375 with three homers and nine RBIs in his last eight games against the Cardinals.
|San Francisco Giants|
|May 26, 2013||Angel Pagan||Day-to-Day||Mild hamstring strain|
|May 21, 2013||Santiago Casilla||15-Day DL||Cyst on right knee|
|May 21, 2013||Ryan Vogelsong||15-Day DL||Fractured right hand - out 6-8 weeks|
|May 20, 2013||Ryan Vogelsong||Day-to-Day||Left game - Broken right hand|
|May 08, 2013||Santiago Casilla||Day-to-Day||Left game - right knee|
|May 04, 2013||Angel Pagan||Day-to-Day||Strained right hamstring|
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|May 26, 2013||John Gast||15-Day DL||Left shoulder tightness|
|May 26, 2013||Carlos Beltran||Day-to-Day||Left shoulder soreness|
|May 25, 2013||John Gast||Day-to-Day||Left game - left shoulder tightness|
|May 21, 2013||Fernando Salas||15-Day DL||Right shoulder irritation|
|May 18, 2013||Jaime Garcia||60-Day DL||Left shoulder strain|
|May 09, 2013||Jake Westbrook||15-Day DL||Right elbow inflammation|
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- This time, the St. Louis Cardinals got some help from the bad weather.
Only hours after enduring two rain delays totaling 5 hours, 32 minutes that pushed the end of their loss to the Kansas City Royals to 3:14 a.m. Friday, the Cardinals never got started against the San Francisco Giants .
The Giants and Cardinals were postponed by inclement weather Friday night - no rain had fallen at Busch Stadium before the game was called - that included tornado warnings in the area. The teams will play a day-night doubleheader Saturday.
San Francisco needed a break, too.
"You hate to see a rain-out but we probably have a couple of guys who could use a day. So, a split-doubleheader," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "It's the last time we see this club, so it leaves no choice in the manner right now. We'll play two."
Both teams will stick with their scheduled starters for both games Saturday. The Giants Matt Cain (4-2) will face Shelby Miller (5-3) in the opener, followed by Madison Bumgarner (4-3) vs. Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright (7-3) in the nightcap.
That's if weather permits. The forecast calls for a 60 percent chance of rain throughout the day.
The postponement was the 26th this season, including one after the Boston Marathon bombings. The 26 tops the total for all of last season, according to STATS. Last year there were 21 games postponed.
The Cardinals closed their locker room and didn't make manager Mike Matheny available to the media after the game was called.
The off night came at a good time for St. Louis. Many of the players didn't leave after Thursday's game until around 4 a.m. Friday.
The late-night loss to Kansas City on snapped a four-game winning streak for the Cardinals. They went 20-7 in May.
Matheny was asked prior to the game against the Giants if the previous marathon evening would adversely affect his team.
"I'll tell you later," he said. "The guys all slept in. We had a late arrival day today. I'm not sure how exactly it's going to affect them. We haven't had a really favorable schedule. We've had plenty of these days where we didn't get much sleep and right back on the horse the next day.
"We made it very clear, this could be an opportunity to complain and have an excuse," Matheny said. "I just don't think it's in our nature."
Bochy said the delay did provide needed rest for players such as Angel Pagan . The outfielder has nursed a hamstring injury throughout May.
"Right now, I'll put it at 50-50 tomorrow," Bochy said. "He still feels a little something there, so we'll wait until he gets there tomorrow and we'll look at him. It won't be in the first game, but maybe the second. If not, than Sunday."
Bochy also announced prior to the game that Pablo Sandoval would likely miss the entire St. Louis series if not a full week because of a strain in his right foot. An MRI showed a treatable injury, Bochy said, and the team hopes to keep their third baseman off the disabled list.
San Francisco arrived in St. Louis having lost five of eight. On Thursday, the Giants beat Oakland to end a three-game skid. They play 12 of their next 14 games on the road.