San Francisco, CA -- Last night his winning streak came to an end. For weeks he maintained the fourth spot, on list of top five pitchers who lead the MLB with wins. No longer undefeated at home, Madison Bumgarner pitched a good game but lacked the run support.
"Tonight was probably our worst night with runners in scoring position," manager Bruce Bochy said. "We were too anxious, too aggressive."
It was a rocky start for the south paw, surrendering two hits in the first frame gave the St. Louis Cardinals an early 1-0 lead. Eight innings later that number grew. The Cardinals broke out behind David Freese's homer in the seventh for the 4-1 victory over the Giants.
Leadoff Rafael Furcal hit a single up the middle and Tyler Greene followed with a double. For a split second there was flashback of when Bumgarner faced the Minnesota Twins last year giving the Twins a 7-0 lead in the first inning.
Allen Craig drove in the first run but left after batting in the eighth. The Giants defense however was very present and Madison struck out the next batter to end the inning. But San Francisco's offense continued to struggle leaving runners in scoring position.
"They're the defending World Series champions for a reason," said Bumgarner. "We know what we need to do and what we need to work on."
Madison yielded seven hits in 71/3 innings, giving up four runs (all earned), no walks and striking out three. The loss ended his streak of eight home starts dating back to last season. However, the defense did their part, a spectacular throw from Gregor Blanco to Charlie Culberson kept David Freese from rounding the bases safely after he hit a double to center field.
Culberson rushed to second showing proof to second base umpire Paul Nauert that he had the ball after tagging the base. Freese who tried to stretch a single into a double got called out and that gave the Giants more momentum heading into the bottom of the fourth.
Jamie Garcia also had a good night. He kept San Francisco's hits to a minimum combined with great defense from St. Louis. Garcia fanned seven through five innings and got his first win in almost a month. He retired 15 of the first 18 batters before allowing a run in the sixth.
"I was able to stay in control of the game and worry about one pitch at a time," Garcia said. "[Freese] He was huge for us and things worked in our favor. Now we just have to focus on tomorrow's game."
Buster Posey who was the only player to go 3-for-4 tied the game 1-1 with an RBI single to center field in the sixth. It became a "do or die" inning for the Giants. Blanco lead the inning off with a base hit and Charlie's sacrifice bunt moved Gregor to second with only one out. Angel Pagan's first hit of the game came when he grounded across the mound.
But again runners were left stranded. The eighth belonged to the Cardinals when pinch-hitter Skip Schumaker hit a two-run double for the 4-1 lead. A late scratch left Melky Cabrera, San Francisco's biggest threat out of the lineup with a left toe injury.
As the Giants last hope he returned bottom of the eighth to pinch hitting for Bret Pill, but manager Mike Matheny wasn't having that and went to the bullpen for a new pitcher. Cabrera grounded out to third on the first pitch ended the inning.
"One of the toughest things to do is pinch-hit," Schumaker said. "Coming off the bench cold, I was just trying to put something in the air. I lucked out and got enough of it."
Carlos Beltran was scratched from the lineup for his third straight game with a sore right knee. He was scheduled to meet with a physician this evening and will probably be a game time decision tomorrow.