Photo is credited to Getty Images.
On Sunday afternoon, the Cardinals and Giants wrapped up a four-game series at AT&T Park in San Francisco, California.
The Cardinals, who won two of the four games, sit one game behind the Giants for the second National League Wild Card spot and two out of the first spot held by the Mets, who capped off a three-game-series sweep of the Twins with a 3-2 victory on Sunday.
Game One: Giants 6, Cardinals 3 — WP: Johnny Cueto (16-5) LP: Adam Wainwright (11-9)
Johnny Cueto’s fifth complete game of the season and a trio of two-run frames lifted the Giants over the Cardinals at AT&T Park on Thursday night, 6-2.
Cueto’s five complete games this season are the most for any National League starting pitcher and second most in the sport, trailing only Chris Sale of the Chicago White Sox, who has twirled seven. On the flipside, the Giants were able to score four runs off Adam Wainwright and two off Zach Duke.
Hunter Pence crushed a two-run homer, his twelfth of the season, Denard Span drove in a pair, and Angel Pagan and Cueto each batted in a run.
Game Two: Giants 8, Cardinals 2 — WP: Matt Moore (4-4) LP: Luke Weaver (1-3)
A six-run third inning fueled by a costly throwing error, four hits, and four walks powered the Giants to an 8-2 victory over the Cardinals in the second game of the four-game series at AT&T Park on Friday.
After Denard Span drew a walk with one out, Yadier Molina committed a throwing error — his second of the season — that allowed the batter, pitcher Matt Moore, to reach and Span to take second base. Angel Pagan walked to load the bases, and Span scored on Joe Panik’s sacrifice fly to open up the scoring. Buster Posey, Hunter Pence, Brandon Belt, and Brandon Crawford followed with four straight hits, as San Francisco knocked Cardinals starter Luke Weaver out of the game and put a six in their half of the run column.
Moore, who allowed two runs on seven hits, was pulled after completing the fifth inning, preceding four hitless innings from the Giants’ bullpen:
Game Three: Cardinals 3, Giants 2 — WP: Seung Hwan Oh (5-3) LP: Santiago Casilla (2-5)
Trailing by one run in the ninth inning of pivotal game, the Cardinals manufactured two runs off Sergio Romo and Santiago Casilla to take Saturday night’s ballgame from the Giants at AT&T Park, 3-2.
With one down, Jedd Gyorko singled, ending Romo’s outing, and Yadier Molina drew a walk from Casilla, who followed Romo. Gyorko and Molina were pinch-ran for by Tommy Pham and Jose Martinez, respectively, and the speed of Pham and Martinez was displayed not long after, as Pham stole second base and scored on a Randal Grichuk single to account for the game’s tying run, allowing Martinez to take third base and later score on a sacrifice fly from Kolten Wong.
For the Cardinals, it’s their twelfth win this season when trailing after seven innings and a critical victory in the sense that it kept them very much in the thick of the National League Wild Card race, as the Mets were victorious on Saturday, implementing that a win for the Cardinals was all but necessary.
Game Four: Cardinals 3, Giants 0 — WP: Alex Reyes (3-1) LP: Albert Suarez (3-4) SV: Seung Hwan Oh (18)
It was a pair of rookies who paved the path to a 3-0 Cardinals win in Sunday’s series finale at AT&T Park against the Giants, a win that allowed the Cardinals to split the teams’ four-game series.
With the win, the Cardinals pulled to within one game of the second National League Wild Card spot, now held by Giants, and two within the first, captained by the Mets.
Starting pitcher Alex Reyes lead the way with seven shutout innings, lowering his earned run average to 1.03 through 35 career innings. Reyes, though he only threw 84 pitches, was able to escape many jams, including a bases-loaded jam in the sixth. With the bat, shortstop Aledmys Diaz did the bulk of the damage by way of a two-run homer in the third, his sixteenth of the season and second since returning from the disabled list.
Cardinals: The Cardinals will continue their three-city roadtrip with a stop in Denver, Colorado, to play three games with the Rockies. On the outskirts of a National League Wild Card spot, the Cardinals will look to use their significant power to the upmost advantage in this series at Coors Field, the most hitter-friendly ballpark in the majors.
Giants: The Giants will pay a visit to Dodger Stadium in Hollywood for a three-game date with the Dodgers, who own a five-game lead in the National League West division over the Giants. This series is expected to feature three splendid pitching matchups, and the best will come in the form of Madison Bumgarner versus Clayton Kershaw in the series opener on Monday night.