There was a chance early when, with the Cardinals down 1-0 in the third, Cesar Izturis doubled to right. But Izturis hesitated rounding second and then unwisely set out for third, where he was retired easily for the second out.
"Baserunning mistake," said manager Tony La Russa, who said he was unsure whether it was the fault of Izturis or third base coach Jose Oquendo.
Immediately after Izturis' double, Skip Schumaker singled. That hit would have scored Izturis and tied the game.
The Cardinals did not look crisp in the field, making two throwing errors, and they didn't seem all that sharp at bat either. But La Russa bristled at the suggestion the team was "flat," preferring instead to tip his cap to Giants right-hander Kevin Correia.
"You can't give the pitcher credit and be flat, too," La Russa said.
GIANTS 5, CARDINALS 1: The Cardinals had just seven hits and only Troy Glaus, knocking in a run for the fourth straight game, could plate anybody. Glaus' double scored Albert Pujols in the ninth inning, although Glaus then came out for a pinch runner because his back had stiffened. He is questionable for Friday night's second game of the four-game series.
NOTES AND QUOTES
--RHP Joel Pineiro, who has been on the disabled list with a shoulder problem, impressed pitching coach Dave Duncan and manager Tony La Russa with a good side session before Thursday's game. He will be activated to pitch Sunday against the Giants. RHP Brad Thompson, who made one excellent start and one mediocre one, will return to the bullpen.
--LHP Mark Mulder, recovering from shoulder surgery, next will pitch Tuesday for Class A Palm Beach on the start of a 30-day rehabilitation program. Mulder allowed just one hit and walked no one in five innings of an extended spring training game Thursday in Jupiter, Fla.
--INF Brendan Ryan, who has been on the disabled list with a ribcage problem, batted twice Thursday in an extended spring training game in Jupiter, Fla. He soon will go on a 20-day rehabilitation option.
--OF Skip Schumaker, after going 0 for his first 16, has gone 6 for his last 12 in the leadoff spot.
--C Yadier Molina's hitting streak ended at seven games with a ninth-inning walk Thursday.