Monday’s Game Report: Giants 4, Cardinals 3
By Rob Rains
After Paul Goldschmidt’s home run in the sixth inning gave the Cardinals a 3-2 lead over the Giants on Monday night, manager Oli Marmol had a decision to make.
His starting pitcher, Matthew Liberatore, had allowed only two runs over those six innings and had thrown 86 pitches. The top of the Giants order was due up in the seventh.
Marmol could try to squeeze one more inning out of Liberatore or go to his bullpen, needing nine outs to preserve the victory. He made the call to the bullpen.
As has far too often been the case for the Cardinals this season, it was the wrong move.
The Giants got a run in the seventh off Andre Pallante to tie the game, then regained the lead with a run in the eighth off Chris Stratton and won the opener of the three-game series at Busch Stadium.
A two-out walk from Pallante started the Giants’ seventh-inning rally and in the eighth, Strattong gave up a double to the eighth-place hitter before allowing the go-ahead single by Brandon Crawford, hitting ninth.
It was the fifth one-run loss for the Cardinals in 10 games to begin June, going 2-8 in those games, and they fell back to 13 games under .500 for the season (27-40). For the year they are 7-16 in games decided by one run.
Here is how Monday night’s game broke down:
At the plate: The Cardinals trailed 2-0 before Paul DeJong homered with two outs in the fifth, only their third hit in the game. Goldschmidt followed a single by Brendan Donovan with his homer in the sixth to put the Cardinals ahead … The Cardinals did not have an at-bat with a runner in scoring position until the eighth. They had the tying run on third and the go-ahead run on second with one out but Nolan Arenado popped out. After Willson Contreras walked to load the bases, Dylan Carlson flew out to center … In the ninth, Tommy Edman walked with two outs and Donovan was hit by a pitch, but Goldschmidt grounded back to the pitcher on the first pitch for the game’s final out.
On the mound: Both of the Giants runs off Liberatore came in the third. After an infield single, he hit a batter and then threw a wild pitch before a groundout and a double produced the runs. Liberatore allowed three hits from the third through the sixth but kept the Giants from adding to their runs.
Key stat: The Cardinals were 0-of-3 with runners in scoring position and for the first 10 games this month, they are a combined 8-of-58 in those situations, a .138 average, including 2-of-33 in their last six games.
Worth noting: The Cardinals will be without Ryan Helsley in their bullpen for the next two weeks after he was placed on the injured list with a forearm strain. Jake Woodford was recalled from Memphis … With Helsley out, Giovanny Gallegos is expected to get most of the save opportunities when the Cardinals have the lead in the ninth inning … Packy Naughton will be re-evaluated in the next few days after he had to come out of Sunday’s game in Memphis after throwing only three pitches.
Looking ahead: Jack Flaherty will try to snap the Cardinals’ three-game losing streak in the 6:45 p.m. game on Tuesday night, the middle game of the three-game series against the Giants.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains