Giants starter Tim Lincecum pitched well enough to win Friday night. But the Cardinals defense helped him a lot more than the St. Louis offense helped its own starter, Jaime Garcia, in a 4-1 loss at San Francisco.
The Cardinals weren't without their chances to score against one of the best pitchers in baseball. But they couldn't push a runner home from third with one out in the second inning. Then they got the first two runners on in the third with the heart of the order coming up. Albert Pujols popped out behind first base, then Matt Holliday grounded into an easy double play on a 3-0 count.
The Birds were 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position.
Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday slides home safely with the Cardinals only run Friday against the Giants. AP Photo.
Garcia struggled more than he has in any previous start. But he pitched well when he got in trouble, getting a double play ground ball to take the steam out of the Giants in the second. He also got a double play ball in the third with two on and no outs. Unfortunately, it bounded between Skip Schumaker's legs and into the outfield. With two outs in the same inning, Garcia got a two-out grounder to Pujols who tried to beat the runner to the bag instead of flipping the ball to the pitcher. He didn't make it and a third run crossed the plate. Arguably, none of the three should have scored.
Brendan Ryan is becoming a concern both at the plate and in the field. He threw away a ball in the first inning that led to the Giants scoring their first run. Then he came to the plate in the top of the second with men on second and third and one out and took three huge hacks to strike out.
I know facing Tim Lincecum is no picnic, but a three hopper to second base is a run. He needs to cut down his swing and stop trying to do too much. If Ryan can't get his act together, shortstop could become an Achillies heel. He needs to at least settle down and play some defense. Contributions at the plate beyond being able to move runners along would be a bonus.
How ugly were the orange uniforms the Giants wore Friday night? Unfortunately, our civilization seems destined to repeat its mistakes time and time again. I guess we're getting to the point that a lot of fans and players are young enough to not remember the 1970s. But that's no excuse to going back to horrible orange baseball uniforms. I thought the Cardinals were playing a team from the California Penal League.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Yadier Molina collected two hits and had the Cardinals only RBI of the game. He also had a stolen base against his brother, Bengie, who catches for the Giants. Ouch.
Cardinals Play of the Game: Ryan Ludwick made a nice sliding catch on a line drive hit to right field to steal a hit from the Giants.
Lowlight: The Cardinals poor defense when the game was on the line.