"I'm so used to him running everything down," said manager Tony La Russa. "I'm not sure exactly what happened.
"Overall, we haven't been as good defensively as we've been. I told Mike (starter Mike Maroth), 'We're going to play good defense for you.' "
The momentum of having won four of their last five games effectively was blunted although pinch hitter Chris Duncan gave the Cardinals a chance with a two-run single in the ninth off Giants left-hander Jack Taschner.
The Cardinals' bullpen, the strength of the team all season, worked four scoreless innings after Maroth had turned in an uneven five-inning start, walking four but giving up just one earned run.
The Cardinals walked San Francisco slugger Barry Bonds three times, none intentionally. Percentage-wise, the Cardinals are second only to the New York Mets among National League teams in stinginess of home runs allowed to Bonds. St. Louis has allowed 39 home runs in 703 career at-bats by Bonds, or one in every 18.5 at-bats.
GIANTS 4, CARDINALS 3: LHP Mike Maroth got his first decision as a Cardinals pitcher, a loss, as he failed to last past five innings for the second time in succession. Maroth was victimized by three errors but also walked four in five innings. The Cardinals had only one run, on RF Juan Encarnacion's sixth-inning double, until the ninth inning.
NOTES AND QUOTES
--1B Albert Pujols, playing with hamstring and elbow injuries, had his 20th consecutive homerless game, covering 66 at-bats. The stretch of games without hitting a homer is a personal record, but he is two shy of his longest homer drought by at-bats.
--INF-OF Scott Spiezio, who had been out more than a week with a finger infection, pinch hit a single in the ninth inning.
--OF Chris Duncan, who singled in two runs in the ninth as a pinch hitter, is tied for the lead with Albert Pujols for two-out runs batted in with 14.
--LHP Mike Maroth has walked 10 in 15 1/3 innings over three starts with the Cardinals.