Based on numbers, Lance Lynn had a bounceback start Tuesday against San Francisco.
Lynn, who was ripped for seven first-inning runs by the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday in a 10-5 loss, gave just two runs on four hits in 6 2/3 innings to the San Francisco Giants, but he and the St. Louis Cardinals absorbed a 2-0 loss in a game delayed by rain for 31 minutes.
“A loss is a bad outing, plain and simple,” Lynn said.
Indeed, Lynn (9-8) had his issues. He walked a season-high five, three coming in the sixth and seventh as San Francisco scored single runs in each inning.
Lynn also allowed a pinch-hit single to pitcher Madison Bumgarner in the seventh, which was followed by back-to-back walks to Gregor Blanco and rookie Matt Duffy. Bumgarner scored to make it 2-0 when Randy Choate plunked Brandon Belt with a pitch.
“The last inning, especially,” Lynn said of how the walks impacted the contest. “You walk two guys and put Randy in a tough situation. We gave up another run. That’s my fault.”
The Cardinals’ offense did nothing to help. St. Louis had two hits, one apiece by Stephen Piscotty and Jhonny Peralta against Ryan Vogelsong (9-8), who pitched for the injured Mike Leake.
St. Louis’ fourth through ninth hitters were 0-for-18.
“Lance was good,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “We’ve got to figure out a way to get some offense going. Two hits isn’t going to do it.
“But that was a great rebound start for Lance after his last one. ... He did what he needed to do. We just couldn’t get anything going with the bats.”
Matheny said Vogelsong looked like the pitcher of old.
“He made good pitches when he had to. Typical stuff,” Matheny said. “He had good movement, changing speeds, making good pitches with good movement. It looked like he had a little more zip on it than the last couple of starts we’ve seen. We talked about Lance’s fastball being good today. So was Vogelsong’s. He had a good idea and executed like he had to.”
The Cardinals (76-43) lost a game in the standings to second-place Pittsburgh, which defeated Arizona 9-8 in 15 innings. The Pirates trail St. Louis by five games in the NL Central.
Outfielder Jason Heyward was not available to play. Heyward experienced hamstring tightness Monday, which forced him to leave the game. The Cardinals said Tuesday that it was cramping. Heyward hopes to return to the lineup Friday in San Diego.
“I wasn’t good enough to play (Tuesday),” Heyward said. “There’s some soreness, tightness in my hamstring, but there are no tears, no structural damage done to any ligaments. so that’s obviously great news.
“Everybody thinks it’ll be a couple of days. With the off-day (Thursday), I like our odds for Friday in San Diego. We’re going to see what happens. Obviously, you have to play it safe, play it smart, with the hamstring injuries.”
Matheny is confident Heyward is close to coming back, even suggesting Heyward could be cleared for duty in the series finale at 6:15 p.m. Wednesday.
“I still am very optimistic this isn’t going to be very long,” Matheny said.
Heyward said he couldn’t ever get loose Monday. He ran around more than normal in the pregame as he prepared to start in center field for Randal Grichuk, who had just been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right elbow.
“I didn’t think I had popped anything,” Heyward said. “But at the same time, I did feel tight before the game. I tried to get it loose. I wasn’t going to pull out. I knew we were already short a guy. I was hoping it would loosen up, but it never did. It was actually kind of hard to accelerate. It was the right move to take me out of the game and it was a smart move not to play (Tuesday).”