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 in a day-night doubleheader Saturday after the series opener was postponed because of rain.
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 inning 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 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.
Game 1 starter Matt Cain (4-2, 5.00 ERA) has gone 4-0 with a 3.48 ERA in five starts this month for San Francisco, 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.
Shelby Miller (5-3, 2.02) will oppose Cain looking to end his recent struggles. After allowing one run and striking out 24 in 20 2-3 innings while going 2-0 in his first three May starts, 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.
Adam Wainwright (7-3, 2.48) will start the nightcap for St. Louis. The right-hander has won back-to-back starts, giving up one run in 7 1-3 innings of a 10-2 victory over San Diego on May 21 before allowing three runs in eight innings of a 6-3 win at Kansas City on Monday.
"I think as a pitcher, no matter what happens on the other side, you just have to keep battling and eventually if you keep making pitches things will work out," Wainwright said.
He has tossed at least seven innings in eight of his 11 starts, including when he allowed two runs in seven innings to beat San Francisco on April 7.
Wainwright has gone that same distance while posting a 1.71 ERA during a three-start winning streak against the Giants, which includes an 8-3 victory in Game 4 of the NLCS.
He'll be opposed by Madison Bumgarner (4-3, 3.13), who went 3-0 with a 1.55 ERA over six starts in April but is 1-3 with a 5.17 ERA in five starts since. He allowed four runs and walked a career worst-tying five in 6 2-3 innings of Monday's 4-1 loss to Oakland.
Bochy still was impressed with the outing.
"That's the kind of pitching we're going to need," Bochy said. "It doesn't go down as a quality start, but he left the game with a really good start and that's what we're going to need playing these good clubs. He did all he could."
The left-hander has a 6.88 ERA while losing three straight starts against the Cardinals. He gave up six runs and eight hits - including two-run homers to Carlos Beltran and David Freese - over 3 2-3 innings of a 6-4 loss in Game 1 of the NLCS the last time he faced them.
Beltran's two hits in six at-bats off Bumgarner are homers, while Freese went deep on two of his three hits in seven at-bats against him.
Bochy announced prior to Friday's rainout that Sandoval would likely miss this series and possibly a full week because of a strain in his right foot.
|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) -- Rookie pitcher Shelby Miller and backup catcher Tony Cruz need to work together more often for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Miller pitched seven shutout innings and Tony Cruz hit two doubles and drove in a pair of runs, leading the Cardinals to an 8-0 victory Saturday over the San Francisco Giants .
It was the first game of a split doubleheader after being postponed from Friday. The Giants and Cardinals played a doubleheader in St. Louis for the first time since July 16, 1978.
Miller (6-3) has thrown 12 2-3 scoreless innings in two starts with Cruz catching.
"Cruz did a great job of calling pitches behind the plate," Miller said. "We felt good together. We were clicking today. Tony is good. The thing is, Tony could probably play anywhere and start if he wasn't here. He's an unbelievable catcher."
Miller scattered six hits, stranding seven runners. His ERA dropped to 1.82 as he struck out seven with one walk. He mixed in a change-up, a curveball and some sinkers for the first time this season along with his fastball.
"You have to stay humble about the whole experience," Miller said. "It's not always going to be pretty and (I'm) not always going to pitch this good. I soak it up and try to learn something new every day and hang around the veterans.
"Every time I go out there, it's a learning experience and I learn something new."
Cruz started at catcher instead of Yadier Molina . It was just Cruz's 11th game of the season.
"I thought for the most part, he threw pitches were he wanted to," Cruz said. "He's got incredible stuff. He's just getting better and better."
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny liked seeing Miller use his secondary pitches.
"I actually saw a couple of sinkers," Matheny said. "It was a good job."
Matt Cain (4-3) allowed seven runs in six innings, falling to 0-3 at Busch Stadium with an 8.87 ERA in four starts.
All the damage done to Cain came in the third, when he threw 40 pitches. In the other five innings he pitched, Cain set the Cardinals down in order. He threw 101 pitches, striking out nine with no walks.
The Cardinals had seven runs on nine hits - seven singles and two doubles - in the third when St. Louis sent 12 men to the plate. Cruz smacked a two-run double. Daniel Descalso hit a double and a single while Pete Kozma had two singles in the outburst.
"It's a bonus when you can help out at the plate, but my job is behind the plate," Cruz said. "I try to stay on top of game when I get a chance. I try to keep sharp working in the cage. There's nothing like seeing your name on the lineup card.
"I don't get in there very much but when it's up there, it's kind of exciting."
Matt Carpenter , John Jay, Allen Craig , Matt Adams and Descalso each had RBI singles.
"He was just like leaving more balls over the plate," Adams said. "We didn't miss any of the pitches."
Cain didn't disagree.
"I made a lot of bad pitches and they took advantage of it," he said.
This was the second time this season St. Louis torched Cain. On April 7 in San Francisco, he gave up a career-worst nine runs in the fourth inning. The Cardinals sent 13 batters to the plate that inning, with eight hits, two walks and a hit batsman in what became a 14-3 St. Louis victory.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy wishes he could explain it.
"Matty was frustrated, too, because he was throwing the ball well," Bochy said. "For that happen to the same team twice, that's hard to do."
Descalso got his second RBI on a sacrifice fly in the eighth.
Cardinals rookie Keith Butler , who was called up Thursday from Triple-A Memphis, made his debut in the ninth. He is the 10th rookie to debut for St. Louis this season. He gave up a hit and a walk and struck out one in a scoreless inning.
Brandon Crawford had three singles for the Giants.
NOTES: This was the first time the Giants and Cardinals played a doubleheader since April 9, 1994, when the teams met at Candlestick Park and split. ... St. Louis is undefeated in its last 10 series, going 8-0-2. ... The Giants have lost six of their last nine games and 11 of their last 17. ... San Francisco has lost its last six road games and eight of its last nine.