When two of the most successful franchises in baseball squared up for Friday night baseball, you knew you were in for a fantastic game. When the starters are Madison Bumgarner (who’s been hot the month of May with a 4-0 record, 2.53 ERA) and Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright (who is currently tied in the National League with the most wins)? That’s just the cherry on top of the sundae.
The Giants continued to swing the bat well to support Bumgarner’s gem and the combination proved to be too much for St. Louis as they lost the second straight game in the series, falling to the Giants 9-4.
Bumgarner’s performance was as good as we’ve seen all season. While notching another quality start under his belt, he also limited the stacked Cardinals’ lineup to three hits, one walk, and ten strikeouts. He also flexed his offensive prowess in the second inning by singling to left, leaving him on base along with Angel Pagan when Hunter Pence whacked a loud home run over the left field wall into the upper deck to drive in three runs for the Giants.
Despite a Wainwright’s impressive resume, the Giants’ offense seemed up for the challenge and succeeded, even in situations they’ve struggled with in the past. Seven of the runs scored came in two out situations, making the Giants the best team in the MLB with runners in scoring position with two outs (99 runs , 96 RBIs, .299 AVG).
In addition to the big second inning from Pence’s 447-feet homer, the Giants knocked Wainwright out after just 4.1 innings with a Pablo Sandoval single and a Morse double in the fifth. Cardinals’ relief pitcher Seth Maness was able to induce a groundout via Hector Sanchez but was unable to retire Gregor Blanco who knocked a single to right-center field to cash in on two RBIs, putting the Giants up 7-0.
San Francisco continued to widen their lead in the seventh inning when the Giants second, third, and fourth in the order loaded the bases with a Pence single, a Sandoval double, and a Morse walk. Hector Sanchez, who is batting .385 in two outs, runners-in-scoring-position situations, came through yet again with a single to drive in Pence and Sandoval, putting the Giants up 9-0 on the Red Birds.
Despite the big deficit, St. Louis didn’t go down without a fight. The Cardinals made a bid in the eighth inning off Giants’ relief pitcher, David Huff, who had a rough night – Huff surrendered a single to Mark Ellis, followed by a hit-by-pitch for Kolten Wong, and finally loading the bases with a walk to Randal Grichuk. Jon Jay put the Cardinals on the board with 3 runs with a double to Pence, leaving Huff with a final pitching line of 0.2 IP, one hit, four runs, and two walks.
Juan Guiterrez replaced Huff and gave up a double to Allen Craig, allowing another run to score, but limiting the damage by retiring Tony Cruz to end the inning.
The Giants are now 7.5 games up in the NL West and further distance themselves as the best team in the major league with a .655 win percentage. The team closest to their record are the American League Detroit Tigers with a .608 win percentage.
With Matt Cain on the 15-day disabled list, Yusmeiro Petit (3-2, 5.08 ERA) will fill-in and face-off against young righty Michael Wacha (3-3, 2.67 ERA) in Game 3 of the series.