Saturday’s Game Report: Cardinals 4, Giants 0

Saturday’s Game Report: Cardinals 4, Giants 0

By Rob Rains

There was no official save awarded in the Cardinals’ win over the Giants on Saturday at Busch Stadium, but anybody who watched the game knows that is a little deceiving.

Ryan Helsley saved the game in the seventh inning – he just didn’t get an S next to his name in the box score to prove it.

Helsley, who has been one of the most dominating relievers in the majors this season, entered the game with one out, the bases loaded and the Cardinals clinging to a 2-0 lead.

Helsley had retired the last 20 hitters he faced, had not walked a hitter, had allowed only one hit this season and had struck out 20 of the 31 hitters he had faced.

Put into the tight situation, Helsley fell behind 3-1 to Brandon Belt – but he then got a ground ball that resulted in an inning-ending double play.

The Cardinals added two runs in the bottom of the inning, Helsley worked another scoreless inning in the eighth – although he did issue his first walk – and the Cardinals won for only the second time in their last seven games.

Here is how the game broke down:

At the plate: The Cardinals built their 2-0 lead on doubles from Yadier Molina and Brendan Donovan in the second and a two-out homer by Tommy Edman in the fifth, his fourth of the season … The extra runs came after Giants centerfielder Austin Slater lost a fly ball from Paul Goldschmidt, which was scored a double, resulting in a run scoring on what should have been the third out of the inning. Nolan Arenado then doubled to drive in Goldschmidt, only his third hit in his last five games.

On the mound: Dakota Hudson worked the first five innings in the Cardinals’ sixth shutout in their 33 games. He scattered five hits, walked two and struck out two … After Genesis Cabrera worked a 1-2-3 sixth with two strikeouts, Andre Pallante got into the seventh inning jam, allowing a double, walk and single to load the bases before he was bailed out by Helsley, who has stranded all eight of the runners he has inherited this season … Only two of Helsley’s 19 pitches were clocked at 100 miles per hour or above, getting one strikeout … Giovanny Gallegos allowed one hit in the ninth, recording two strikeouts.

Key stat: The gift double allowed Goldschmidt to extend his streak of reaching base by either a hit or walk to 21 consecutive games.

Worth noting: The Cardinals have now hit at least one home run in their last 10 games … The shutout was the 152nd for Molina in his career, the second most in MLB history behind Yogi Berra’s 173 shutouts … With a walk in the first inning, Juan Yepez has now reached base in his first 10 career starts … Harrison Bader was held out of the starting lineup because of a sore heel, although he was inserted into the game as a defensive replacement in the eighth inning … Drew VerHagen was activated from the injured list before the game, with Packy Naughton optioned to Memphis.

Looking ahead: Adam Wainwright will come off the Covid IL to start Sunday night’s game, the ESPN game of the week. A roster move will have to be made before the game before Wainwright can be activated.

Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains

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For the latest news and features in St. Louis Sports check out Rob Rains, Editor.