By Morris Phillips
The Giants proved to be battlers again Monday in St. Louis, but the Cardinals handed them a first hand lesson on how the art form works.
By winning 3-1, the Cardinals improved to a National League-best 33-16 since the All-Star break, and this one came under difficult circumstances, their fifth game in a little more than 48 hours.
Somehow the Cardinals captured four of five in the stretch, without looking like baseball wizards, but by simply maintaining focus, according to manager Mike Shildt.
“Guys were grinding every single pitch, all five games and they were rewarded for it,” said Shildt.
Adam Wainwright projected to be a centerpiece in the process of wearing down the Giants, and he was, tossing seven, scoreless innings and successfully giving the St. Louis bullpen a break.
The 38-year old did so in 90 degree heat, and preparation was the key, in his estimation.
“That attacking mentality that I used to have,” Wainwright said. “I’ve sort of gotten away from that the last couple starts.”
The veteran started for the 311th time in his career, winning 158 of those. Seemingly, he’s always been good, but rarely great, winning at least 10 games in ten, different seasons, but only as many as 20 wins twice.
“He’s always got the gas pedal down,” Shildt said. “He’s got a ferocious mindset.”
The Giants weren’t much off what the Cardinals produced offensively, but thanks to Wainwright, they had to wait until the eighth inning to cross the plate. Mauricio Dubon came up with his first career home run off Giovanny Gallegos to break up the shutout. Dubon doubled earlier in the game, producing two of the Giants five hits.
The Cardinals have won 10 of 12, and maintained their three-game cushion over the Cubs in the NL Central. The Giants have lost six of seven, virtually falling out of the wild card chase in the process.
Tyler Beede pitched four innings, taking the loss and falling to 3-9 on the season. Kolten Wong’s run-scoring triple was the big blow off Beede, who hasn’t won a game in nearly six weeks.