Giants-Cardinals Preview

The San Francisco Giants’ run of strong offensive performances came to an end in the third of this four-game road series against the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Giants may not need to push across many runs to get back on track with Tim Hudson starting the finale Sunday, but they also might not get many opportunities to score against Lance Lynn.

San Francisco (36-20) averaged 5.5 runs while winning seven of eight before being three-hit by four Cardinals in a 2-0 loss Saturday that ended a four-game winning streak.

The Giants tied a season low for hits, were blanked for the fourth time and struck out 13 times – equaling their second-most in 2014.

”We just got shut down. … We just didn’t do anything offensively,” manager Bruce Bochy said.

They’ll look to rebound against Lynn (6-2, 3.13 ERA), who is coming off his first career shutout. The right-hander allowed five hits and walked three New York Yankees while throwing a career-high 126 pitches in a 6-0 home win Tuesday.

”Every time you go out, that’s what you try to do, not give up any runs and finish it,” said Lynn, who in his 97th contest became the seventh pitcher in franchise history to win 40 games before making 100 appearances. ”Today was the first time I was able to do that, so it took me way too long.”

Lynn is 2-0 with a 1.64 ERA in three starts – all wins for the Cardinals (30-26) – after going 0-2 with a 4.24 ERA in his previous four outings. He hasn’t had much success against the Giants, going 0-3 with a 6.27 ERA in four starts – including two in the 2012 NLCS.

The same can be said for Hudson in his career against the Cardinals, but he could finally turn things around given how well he’s pitched in his first season with San Francisco. The right-hander is 5-2 with a 1.92 ERA after going seven innings in a 4-0 win over the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday.

Hudson has lasted at least seven innings in eight of his 10 starts.

”I couldn’t have asked for a better start to my season with a new team, new organization, new teammates,” he said. ”I hope they don’t think I’m going to be this good all year.”

Hudson hasn’t been good facing St. Louis, going 0-3 with a 7.22 ERA in his last seven matchups after winning three of his first four decisions. Matt Holliday is 9 for 24 and Yadier Molina has gone 6 for 15 against him.

Molina, though, is 2 for 18 in his last six games while Holliday is 2 for 14 in his past four.

Outfielder Oscar Taveras gave the Cardinals the lead Saturday with a solo homer in the fifth inning of his major league debut.

”What a great day for him, one I’m sure he’ll never forget, and neither will we,” said manager Mike Matheny, whose team snapped a three-game skid. ”For him to come up and do it in that situation, it’s kind of mind-boggling.”