April 19 – Giants 6, Cardinals 2

The St. Louis Cardinals were swept in their two-game road series by the San Francisco Giants, losing on Thursday afternoon. The Cards have dropped four straight and carry a 6-9 record this season.

In the bottom of the first, speedster Dave Roberts led off with a single. Kip Wells kept him close. After an eight-pitch at-bat, Omar Vizquel lined into a 5-3 double play, Spiezio to Pujols.

Spiezio, who subbed a second straight day at third base on for the food-poisoned Scott Rolen, drew a leadoff walk in the second. Yadier Molina singled to get two on base, but neither So Taguchi nor Aaron Miles could produce.

Ray Durham singled to put the leadoff man on base for the second consecutive inning. After a Ryan Klesko strikeout, Wells caught Durham leaning for the pickoff and rundown.

A couple of throwing errors in the third helped the Cards to their first run. Giants starter Noah Lowry threw away a comebacker from Wells, allowing the runner to take second base. Then, Klesko booted David Eckstein's sacrifice bunt to first, allowing the run to score. Albert Pujols was hit by a pitch, then Spiezio singled. The rally was stopped dead by a nice sliding catch coming in by Randy Winn in right field to retire Preston Wilson and end the inning. It was a delayed call for the third out, but the correct one.

Wells helped his own cause with a solo home run to left field to start the fifth, doubling the Cards lead to 2-0.

Shaky play by the right side of the Cardinals infield opened the door for the Giants to come right back to tie the game in the bottom of the fifth. The Gold Glover at first, Albert Pujols, made a surprising error, dropping a very routine throw from second baseman Aaron Miles. That allowed Durham to reach. Ryan Klesko hammered Wells' very next pitch to deep right. Wilson positioned himself for a carom off the wall that never came. By the time Wilson ran up, picked up the one-hopper and threw, the lumbering Klesko slid headfirst into third - an RBI triple with no out. Winn then hit a sharp chopper to Miles, who backhanded the ball. His one-hop throw to Pujols was dropped, resulting in an error for the second baseman as Klesko scored to tie the game. A strike-em out, throw-em out with Mark Sweeney fanning and David Eckstein slapping the tag down on Winn eased the pressure.

The Giants took a three-run lead in the sixth. Roberts singled with one out and stole second as Molina could not handle the pitch cleanly. Vizquel walked and both scored on a double by Aurilia that rolled to the wall in left. For some reason, the Cardinals bullpen remained quiet. Durham walked as Wells looks to be running out of gas. No one seems to be ready in the pen. Klesko singled to load the bases. Winn's sac fly to left scored the fifth run as Duncan's throw was not in time. Sweeney fanned to end it, but the damage was done.

Brad Thompson pitched the seventh and looked good. Jack Taschner and Brad Hennessey took care of the middle of the Cards lineup in the eighth.

Thompson walked Aurilia with one out in the bottom of the eighth. Klesko's double deep to left with two out scored Aurilia all the way from first to increase the lead to 6-2. Duncan overthrew his relay man, which helped ensure the runner slid in safely.

Wilson singled in the ninth, but Yadier's double play ball left So Taguchi as the last chance. ‘Nuff said.

Other than Wells, the moribund Cardinals offense managed just one more hit, three, than errors committed by their defense, two. In fifteen games this season, the Redbirds have scored more than three runs just twice, an amazing run of futility.

Giants 5, Cardinals 2. With the loss, the Cards fell to 6-9 on the season, one-half game ahead of the last-place Cubs, their upcoming weekend opponent at Wrigley.

Friday afternoon's contest will feature Braden Looper (2-1) versus another lefty, this time the Cubs' Ted Lilly (1-1) at 1:20 P.M. Central on FSN Midwest and KTRS 550.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brwalton@earthlink.net.

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