Giants start off road series in St. Louis with huge comeback win

Giants start off road series in St. Louis with huge comeback win

BOX SCORE

ST. LOUIS -- Not much has gone right on the road for the San Francisco Giants this season. They are now on a positive streak.

Eduardo Nunez doubled in two runs in the ninth inning and San Francisco rallied to defeat the St. Louis Cardinals 6-5 on Friday night. The win improves the Giants to 7-15 away from San Francisco, including two straight. They have won six of seven overall.

"It's been a while, and now we have a couple of them," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "You look how it came together - some good two-strike hitting by (Brandon) Crawford, and then Nuney with the big hit."

The Giants scored four times in the ninth in their previous road game to pull out a 6-5 win at the New York Mets on May 10.

The Cardinals dropped their third straight and fourth of six. It's their fourth three-game skid of the season.

Bryan Morris (2-0) pitched a perfect eighth inning, striking out two, to pick up the victory. Mark Melancon earned his seventh save.

The Giants scored twice off Cardinals closer Seung Hwan Oh (0-2) in the ninth to take the lead. It was Oh's second blown save of the year.

"First of all, there was nothing that went well," Oh said through an interpreter. "First thing letting the leadoff go on the base and then second was a miss-pitch against Nunez. The first pitch was pretty weak."

Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford singled ahead of Nunez, who hit his 10th double of the season to left center.

It was a back and forth game with the Giants overcoming a 2-0 deficit with a three-run seventh. Dexter Fowler replied with a three-run home run in the bottom of the inning but the Giants scored once in the eighth and won it in the ninth.

"It could have been a disheartening loss, but the boys kept battling," Bochy said. "A great way to start the trip."

San Francisco has a three-game set in St. Louis before playing four at the Chicago Cubs.

Giants starter Matt Moore entered with a 10.50 ERA in four road games, but went six innings and gave up two runs and five hits. He walked three and struck out five.

"We've lost a lot of games on the road and not because they've been 1-0 or 2-0," Moore said. "It's one of those things that doesn't have to be said."

Michael Wacha got his first start in 11 days. He allowed four hits over six innings, struck out five and walked three.

EARLY EXIT: St. Louis manager Mike Matheny was ejected during the seventh inning. He yelled at home plate umpire Nic Lentz as he removed reliever Matt Bowman and as he left he was tossed. It was Matheny's second ejection of the season.

CELEBRITY SIGHTINGS: Missouri Gov. Eric Grietens and University of Illinois football coach Lovie Smith were both in attendance.

HOLY MATRIMONY: Giants RHP Cory Gearrin got married at San Francisco city hall Thursday afternoon to Maddi Reynolds. Gearrin arrived early Friday morning to join his team.

ROSTER MOVE: The Cardinals recalled IF Jhonny Peralta (upper respiratory condition) from the 10-day DL and optioned rookie Magneuris Sierra to Double-A Springfield. Peralta singled as a pinch hitter in the seventh.

TRAINERS ROOM

Giants: IF Conor Gillaspie (back spasms) began a rehab assignment Friday with Triple-A Sacramento.

Cardinals: OF Stephen Piscotty (hamstring strain) was removed from a rehab assignment game Thursday after two innings as a precaution after he tweaked his knee. He was projected to rejoin St. Louis this weekend.

UP NEXT

Giants: Jeff Samardzija (1-5, 5.26) is looking for his second consecutive victory after dropping his first five decisions, including his first four starts.

Cardinals: Carlos Martinez (3-3, 3.88) has won his last three starts after beginning the season 0-3.

Giants notes: 'Disappointing' road trip; Nuñez hopes to return Friday

Giants notes: 'Disappointing' road trip; Nuñez hopes to return Friday

CHICAGO — As they packed up at AT&T Park eight days ago, the Giants talked of taking their momentum on the road. It sounded pie-in-the-sky given the way they had played in April and on the previous trip, but when they took the first two in St. Louis, players started to believe they had finally turned the corner. 

And then came a Sunday loss, and three of four at Wrigley Field. There was no happy flight Thursday. The Giants lost 5-1, again looking flat against a less-than-elite pitcher, and ended up with a 3-4 trip. They’ll finish the first two months of the season without a winning road trip. They're 9-19 away from AT&T Park. 

“It’s disappointing,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “Once you win the first one here, you’re hoping you get greedy and take the series, but we didn’t. That’s disappointing.”

The Giants entered the road trip with a 6.62 starters’ ERA on the road, but pitching wasn’t the issue. Sure there were too many meatballs — most of the 10 Cubs homers in this series came on pitches left right over the fat part of the plate — but the starters did their job. The lineup couldn’t keep up. The Giants had just five hits Thursday and finished the trip with 24 runs in seven games. They started the trip nine games out in the West and finished 11 back of the Rockies, their largest deficit since 2013. 

“You come here and take the first game with our (top) guys throwing after that and you’re hoping for a better result,” Jeff Samardzija said. “We started out good and that St. Louis series puts you in a good spot to salvage the trip. We’ll go home now with six solid games on our home turf and they’re six big games for us.”

The Braves and Nationals come to town. The Giants will see Jaime Garcia on Friday, followed by Mike Foltynewicz and R.A. Dickey. 

--- Samardzija’s run without a walk ended at 154 batters when Ian Happ drew a free pass in the seventh. The streak was the best of Samardzija’s career. 

--- Eduardo Nuñez said he got treatment on a tight hamstring throughout the game and he’ll go in early Friday to continue treatment. He hopes to start Friday. 

--- Christian Arroyo was hitless in three at-bats, dropping his average to .191. Before the game, Bochy talked at length about Arroyo’s recent struggles and the plan with him going forward. 

--- If you missed it earlier, I took a tour of the visiting bullpen here. After going in there, I talked to some more pitchers about what they don’t like. It seems to mostly be the fact that you’re separated from the game. One said some of the relievers who pitched Monday had no idea it was raining because they had been getting loose inside for several innings. Seems like there’s a pretty easy fix here: The Cubs can just turn part of that Under Armour wall into a chain-link fence, or have some sort of window that opens up to the outside but doesn’t interfere with outfielders. Maybe next year … 

Wrigley's phones keep Giants from challenging one of three homers in loss

Wrigley's phones keep Giants from challenging one of three homers in loss

CHICAGO — The Cubs have a brand new clubhouse that visitors often compare to a spaceship, and this season their front office moved into a sparkling building alongside Wrigley Field that has a Starbucks on the ground floor and arcade games sprinkled among the offices.

There are still plenty of old-school quirks at this 103-year-old park, however, and two of them teamed up to get to Jeff Samardzija and the Giants in the first inning Thursday. 

Kris Bryant lofted a ball to left and Mac Williamson settled under the basket hanging over the track. Williamson thought he had a bead on the ball, but a Cubs fan caught it as he reached over the basket, installed in this yard specifically to keep fans from unleashing their inner Jeffrey Maier. Williamson immediately pointed up, trying to signal to Giants coaches that they should take a second look at the homer. Bruce Bochy never had a chance.

“In this game you get a safety valve and one is replay,” Bochy said. “The phone wasn’t working and by the time Shawon (Dunston) ran down they were throwing the pitch to (Anthony) Rizzo.”

Bochy kept looking at the replay phone but it didn’t ring. Once the first pitch to Rizzo was thrown, the Giants were out of time to challenge. 

“I definitely would have challenged it,” Bochy said. “I didn't see any reason to at first. That’s something we definitely would have done differently … It’s ironic that as soon as it happened it stopped ringing.”

Bochy met with home plate umpire Laz Diaz after the inning and informed him that if the replay phone continued to give the Giants issues, he might have to stop the game and get it fixed. The Giants continued to check the phones every inning to make sure they worked, although there were no challenges from their side. 

It’s an interesting wrinkle to the loss, especially given the history of shenanigans here. But there are two postscripts. 

The first is that the ball was a home run. Unless you’re built like Kevin Durant, it’s just about impossible to pull a ball over the basket, which Williamson noted as he stood underneath the overhang. Still shots were deceiving because the fan tugged his glove down after making the catch, but the Giants checked with the league during the game and they were told that the home run call would have stood.

"If it would have gone in, it would have been like the (Javier) Baez homer in the playoffs where it just nicked it," Williamson said. 

The second postscript is that this goofy isolated play isn’t the reason the Giants lost. Jeff Samardzija gave up two more homers, Denard Span halted a rally with a mistake at first base, and the Giants managed just one run against the Cubs’ No. 5 starter and lefty reliever Mike Montgomery. They lost 5-1. 

“You’d like to think we could score in this ballpark, three to four runs,” Bochy said. “We couldn’t do it. We shot ourselves in the foot there with runners on first and third.”

With the corners packed and one down in the fifth, Span was picked off first by Eddie Butler. The Giants would never again threaten. 

“You never know what’s going to happen in an inning like that, but now he’s got two outs,” Bochy said. 

The Giants looked poised to tie the game or take the lead in that inning. Instead, the Cubs added another run on Ben Zobrist’s homer in the sixth. Two more scored on a bases-loaded wild pitch in the eighth. Samardzija took the loss despite striking out eight in three innings. He gave up three solo shots, two that landed in the basket. 

“Yeah, man, that’s a tough way to take it,” he said. “You give up one to Zobrist that he hit well and then two in the Easter basket. It’s unfortunate.”

The Cubs might have caught a break or two, but the Giants had no room to argue or complain. There’s something else about those baskets: They’re out there for both teams, and only one of the lineups was hitting it far enough to bring them into play.