Noah Lowry looked to continue his dominance this season after being on the short end of a 1-0 loss in his last outing. However, his teammates had other plans for him in this game. Randy Winn led off the first inning with a single, and Omar Vizquel followed with a triple. The two speedsters raced around the base paths and Winn scored the first run with Vizquel standing on third.
Unfortunately, Steve Finley hit a comebacker and Pedro Feliz was jammed on a pitch to hit a lazy pop up in the infield. With two outs and Vizquel still on third, Mark Sweeney blooped a double just fair in left field to bring Vizquel in as the second run. Ray Durham grounded out to end the inning.
Lowry got into trouble in the second inning. He issued a walk to Scott Rolen, and was in a battle with Juan Encarnacion, but lost him when umpire Gerry Davis called a close pitch ball four. Hector Luna singled to load the bases, and with no one out, the struggling Yadier Molina grounded into a double play, but Rolen was able to score the Cardinals' first run. So Taguchi grounded out to end the inning.
The Redbirds came back for more when Thompson had an early exit in the game. Last night's starter, Jason Marquis, had a pinch hit triple and David Eckstein knocked him in with single to left field. Spiezio singled on a pop up that neither Durham or Dan Ortimeier could handle, and Albert Pujols smashed a ball off the right field wall, but because Eckstein thought Ortimeier was going to catch the ball, Eckstein wasn't able to score on the play.
With the bases loaded, Rolen flied out to shallow center, and again Eckstein was held from scoring when Finley quickly threw the ball back into the infield. Encarnacion came to the plate and hit into a double play to end the inning, and Lowry got out of the inning with only allowing the tying run to score.
The Giants gained the lead back in the fourth inning when Adam Wainwright replaced Tyler Johnson as St. Louis' third pitcher of the game. Todd Greene led off with a double, and Ortimeier reached on an error by Pujols at first to allow Green to score the go ahead run. Lowry bunted into a force out, and Winn hustled to prevent a GIDP with Lowry out at second.
Vizquel followed with a single, and with runners on first and third, Finley bounced a grounder off the tip of Pujol's glove. Winn scored on the play, but Vizquel was thrown out at home. Vizquel was a good ten feet away from home plate.
The Cardinals' pitchers continued to haunt Lowry. Wainwright hit for himself, and in his first big league at-bat, he launched a homerun to give the Redbirds their third run. However, the Giants preserve their lead when the Cardinals couldn't score any more.
In the sixth, the Cardinals didn't give in. Encarnacion and Luna had back to back singles to lead off the inning. With Molina hitting, Lowry caught Encarnacion trying to steal, but when he threw the ball to Durham at second, the ball sailed over Durham's head and into centerfield. Both runners advanced, and Molina singled to left field. Taguchi had a sacrifice fly to knock in the go-ahead run, but the inning ended without any more damage.
The Cardinals kept scraping together runs. Scott Munter replaced Lowry in the seventh, and gave up an infield single to Spiezio. After Pujols lined out, Rolen drew another walk, and Encarnacion singled to drive in Spiezio. Luna drew a walk on a full count, but Munter didn't take advantage of Molina, who has been really struggling this season. Munter walked Molina in four pitches, and Felipe Alou had seen enough.
With a run walked in, another former Cardinal, Steve Kline, took the game over. Kline got Taguchi to hit a ground ball, but it barely got passed the hole at short. Vizquel's only option was to try to get the force out on Luna at third, but the throw was too late, and the inning continued. Pinch hitter Chris Duncan hit a slow dribbler to Durham, and the ball was hit so slowly that Durham's only play was to first. Eckstein grounded out to end a long inning for the Giants.
After the seventh, Brad Hennessey came into the game to pitch a scoreless frame in the eighth.
The Cardinals tacked on another run in the ninth when Taguchi jacked a homerun to left field. Braden Looper batted for himself, and why not if you're a Cardinal pitcher today? He doubled to right field, but was stranded, and St. Louis walked away from the inning with just the one run against Hennessey.
The Giants went down quietly on the offensive side for the rest of the game.
Game Notes: Chris Carpenter's injury doesn't seem serious. He should be on schedule to make his next start... The Cardinals grounded into a double play in each of the first three innings. The Giants themselves had three GIDPs, two by Ray Durham.
SFDugout's Player of the Game: Omar Vizquel went 3-3 with an RBI and scored a run in a quiet offensive day for the Giants. Todd Greene also continues to be a surprise at the plate, going 2-4 with a double and a run scored, bringing up his average to .394.
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