Cards score winning run when Giants fail to turn double play
ST. LOUIS — This time, the San Francisco Giants saw the real Michael Wacha.
The St. Louis Cardinals right-hander insisted last year's NL Championship Series failure was absolutely not on his mind preparing to face the Giants for the first time this season.
"I mean, everyone seems to make it out like I was going out for vengeance or something, like I was after these guys since Day 1," Wacha said after working seven dominant innings in the Cardinals' 2-1 victory on Monday night.
"Everyone tries to amp it up and make a story out of it, but I was just trying to approach it just like another game."
Rookie Stephen Piscotty tripled and scored the go-ahead run on Mark Reynolds' groundout in the eighth.
Piscotty tripled off Hunter Strickland (2-2) with one out in the eighth and Brandon Moss was intentionally walked. On the deciding play, Crawford fielded Reynolds' grounder and ran to second for a forceout after struggling to get a firm grip and then spun and threw wide to first, missing a chance at a double play.
"It was a ball that wasn't hit hard enough or soft enough that I could come home, so we wanted to turn it right there — and since I was close enough to the bag, to take it myself," Crawford said.
The run came a little too late for Wacha, who allowed one run on six hits with six strikeouts but missed a chance to become the majors' first 15-game winner. The right-hander surrendered an NLCS-ending homer to Travis Ishikawa last fall in his lone appearance of the postseason.
"That's something he's not going to forget," manager Mike Matheny said. "I think it's served him well."
Yadier Molina hit his third homer off Chris Heston leading off the fourth for St. Louis. The Giants tied it on Brandon Crawford's two-out RBI triple in the sixth.
The Cardinals have won nine of 12, ended the Giants' four-game winning streak, and lead Pittsburgh by six games in the NL Central. They're tops in the majors in overall record (76-42) and home record (45-18).
"It feels good to contribute," Piscotty said. "It's just so much fun."
Kevin Siegrist (4-0) worked a perfect eighth against the top of the Giants order and Trevor Rosenthal earned his 37th save in 39 chances when pinch-hitter Buster Posey flied out to the wall in center.
"I knew I hit it good, but I knew it was also a little high," Posey said.
Heston is 0-3 in four outings this month, failing to last five innings in three of them. He was undone by five walks in 4 2/3 innings and has walked 16 in 26 2/3 his last five outings.
"I think finding the strike zone is kind of an issue right now," Heston said.
After surrendering Molina's homer, Heston walked the bases full later in the fourth before striking out Kolten Wong to end the threat.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
Rosenthal's 37th save tied Pittsburgh's Mark Melancon for the MLB lead. Piscotty is 6 for 10 in the last three games, scoring five runs.
Giants: RHP Tim Lincecum (hips) is scheduled to face hitters in a simulated game later this week.
Cardinals: Jason Heyward made his first start of the year in CF, but was taken out after two innings due to left hamstring tightness. Matheny said Heyward was undergoing tests after being unable to get the hamstring loose.
"We made the proactive move of just getting him out," Matheny said. "We're not going to go any further."
Matt Adams (quad) leaves for Florida later this week to begin baseball activity and could begin a rehab assignment soon after that.
Giants: Ryan Vogelsong (8-8, 4.15) will start after the team decided not to activate Mike Leake, who had been scheduled to come off the 15-day disabled list after recovering from a hamstring injury.
Cardinals: Lance Lynn (9-7, 2.95) is coming off the shortest outing of his career, lasting just two-thirds of an inning and surrendering seven runs — three earned — in a loss to Pittsburgh.