Facing Adam Wainwright is unlikely to make offensive consistency any easier for the San Francisco Giants, but they’ll certainly take their own hitting over the Cardinals’ recent inferiority at the plate.
The Giants will try for their sixth win against the Cardinals in seven games Wednesday night as the clubs continue a three-game series at AT&T Park.
San Francisco (47-36) recaptured first place in the NL West with Tuesday’s 5-0 series-opening victory. It ended a four-game skid during which the club had scored six runs to complete a 10-16 June.
Wainwright (10-4, 2.01 ERA), contrarily, had a particularly impressive June, going 2-1 with a 1.16 ERA in four starts. On Thursday, he held the Los Angeles Dodgers to a run and five hits over eight innings in a 1-0 defeat.
The right-hander is 3-5 with a 3.38 ERA in nine regular-season starts against the Giants. His most recent was by far his worst, as he allowed seven runs in 4 1-3 innings of a 9-4 loss to the Giants on May 30.
Pablo Sandoval is 6 for 16 against Wainwright while Michael Morse is 4 for 11 with a home run.
The Giants counter with Ryan Vogelsong, who was also a victim of his club’s offensive ineptitude in Thursday’s 3-1 loss to Cincinnati. Vogelsong (5-4, 3.96) held the Reds to a run while striking out seven in six innings and was stuck with the decision.
"That was a great start from Vogey," manager Bruce Bochy said. "You can’t ask for anything more."
Vogelsong was 3-0 with a 1.04 ERA in his first four starts against St. Louis since joining the Giants – including two in the 2012 NL championship series – but he’s surrendered nine runs over 11 2-3 innings in his last two.
Allen Craig is 5 for 11 with a homer lifetime off Vogelsong while Yadier Molina is 3 for 22.
St. Louis (44-40) should be especially displeased with its offense, having been shut out in consecutive games with one run scored and a .156 average over a three-game skid. The Cardinals were last shut out in three straight contests from Oct. 2-3, 1976, which included a doubleheader.
In a five-game stretch, St. Louis has faced three pitchers who have thrown no-hitters this season – Josh Beckett, Clayton Kershaw and Tim Lincecum. Still, they let the latter out of a bases-loaded jam with no outs in the fourth inning Tuesday and ultimately extended an awful stretch of hitting with runners in scoring position to 3 for 30 over those five games.
"We’ve tried to be realistic, too, with the caliber of pitching we’ve been seeing, but when you see an opportunity slip away like that, you can’t completely give all the credit to the pitching," Craig said.
Matt Adams has been one of the few bright spots with a .364 average during an eight-game hitting streak. Matt Holliday was given Tuesday off after going 1 for 13 in four games against Los Angeles.
The Giants’ Hunter Pence went 2 for 4 and is batting .329 in his last 17 games, while Sandoval hit his 100th career home run.
The 2-for-3 night boosted Sandoval’s average to .271, which is 100 points higher than it was on May 9. He’s since hit .341, which trails only Milwaukee’s Jonathan Lucroy in the NL.