ST. LOUIS – Coming off his first career complete game shutout, Lance Lynn had no-where near the same amount of success on Sunday as the Giants shut out the Cardinals 8-0 at Busch Stadium.
“He just didn’t have it,” Cardinals’ skipper Mike Matheny said. “You hate to have a couple of those happen in the same series, but that is exactly what happened.”
After Michael Wacha and the Cardinals' bullpen limited the Giants to just three hits all day Saturday, Lynn gave up three straight singles to open the game, including an RBI single to Buster Posey. Before the frame was over, Lynn had thrown 35 pitches, allowed four hits and a walk as the Giants took a 4-0 lead.
“It was a tough one,” Lynn said. “I just couldn’t get a ground ball to go to somebody. It was one of those days where that will happen.”
Of course, three of the runs were unearned as second baseman Kolten Wong mishandled a play in which he was not only unable to turn a possible double play, but he was unable to get anyone out.
“If an out is made there,” Lynn said, “we are out of the inning with just one run.”
Matheny liked the aggressiveness Wong uses in the field and doesn’t want him to slow the pace after one bad play.
“That is a play he has done here in the last week a couple of times,” Matheny said. “The odds of getting (Gregor) Blanco on that particular play aren’t real high, but if you get a force out at second base, we are still in position to maybe do something. In hindsight, you would like to have an out, but I am not going to slow him down on his aggressiveness. I want him to make athletic plays because he can.”
Matheny wasn’t sure if Lynn's previous performance, in which he threw 126 pitches in a complete game, had any effect in Sunday’s outcome.
“That could be it,” Matheny said. “I thought his velocity looked about the same, but that is an easy place to go.”
Lynn was adamant that it wasn’t so.
“I would say it had more to do with the extra long first inning,” Lynn said.
Things continued to go downhill for Lynn. He gave up a pair of two-out hits to Posey and Pablo Sandoval, but got out of the second unscored upon.
During the third, Lynn walked the first two hitters he faced and Matheny got Carlos Martinez warming up in the bullpen. Lynn as able to finish the third, but he did so on 23 pitches and allowed two more runs, pushing the Cardinals’ deficit to 6-0.
Lynn (6-3) didn’t make it out of the fourth. Following a leadoff single to Posey, he got Sandoval to fly out before walking Gregor Blanco. That was it for Lynn, the Cardinals’ starter allowed seven runs, four of which were earned on eight hits and four walks in 3.1 innings of work.
Putting the offense in a hole early was not what the Cardinals’ wanted.
“It’s tough,” Matt Carpenter said. “It’s never an ideal situation for an offense when you are down big, early in the game.”
St. Louis had scoring opportunities as the Redbirds stranded seven base runners on, six of them over the first four innings. The Cardinals got the leadoff batter on in the first and second, but did nothing further. In the third Carpenter doubled and moved to third on a ground out. Matt Holliday then walked and Allen Craig was hit by a pitch in the helmet to load the bases. Oscar Taveras left them loaded though as the Cardinals’ rookie was unable to do anything. Taveras grounded out to second on the first pitch he saw from Giants starter Tim Hudson (6-3).
“(Craig) said he felt fine,” Matheny said. “He didn’t have any symptoms of anything.”
The Cardinals had just three hits and a pair of free passes off of Hudson. The Giants’ starter threw 101 pitches over seven shutout innings of work.
Carpenter was 2-for-3. He led off the game with a single to extend his hitting streak to 14 games. Taveras had a leadoff single in the second while Holliday and Jon Jay each walked once. The free pass issued to Holliday extended his streak of reaching base at Busch Stadium to 28 games.
“I honestly just feel like I am doing the same things I have been doing all year,” Carpenter said. “Just trying to get a good pitch and have a good at bat. The balls are just falling in for me.”
Carpenter said he would trade the hitting streak for wins.
“Stuff like that, hits and streaks – I would go 0-for-4 every day as long as we keep winning,” Carpenter said. “You want to do something to help your team win, but at the end of the day, it’s all about winning games and we have got to find a way to start doing that.”
Hudson struck out the side in the fourth and retired the final 11 batters he faced. The Redbirds got one final hit off the Giants bullpen, a one-out single by Wong in the eighth.
“(Hudson) was pretty much the same guy he has been all year,” Carpenter said. “Sinker, down in the zone and getting a lot of ground balls, getting ahead of guys, and pitching to contact. A lot of soft outs. … We weren’t able to scratch any runs against him.”
The Cardinals will prepare for their two and two with Kansas City. St. Louis will host the Royals on Monday and Tuesday before heading to Kansas City on Wednesday and Thursday. Shelby Miller (6-4) will be on the mound for the opener while Kansas City is slated to throw Danny Duffy.