May 2, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; San Francisco Giants left fielder Michael Morse (38) celebrates a solo home run in the sixth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Morse helps San Francisco Giants take opener from Cards

In the first meeting of the season with perennial National League Central powerhouse, St. Louis Cardinals, the San Francisco Giants came from behind-three times-to finally defeat the Cards 6-5.   Michael Morse homered and accounted for three RBI’s, and Pablo Sandoval extended his number of consecutive games with an RBI to nine.

Neither Ryan Vogelsong nor Jaime Garcia got a decision in the game, as the Cards scored one in the first, two in the fourth, another in the sixth and their fifth and final run in the ninth.  The Giants came from behind to take a 2-1 lead, tied it at 3 in the sixth, and came from behind again in the eighth to take a two-run lead that held up.

Hitting

The Giants had eight hits in all, with Morse (37 RBI’s for the season) hitting his eleventh home run and doubling in the go-ahead runs in the crucial eighth-inning uprising. Gregor Blanco had three hits in a spot-start, knocking in one run, Angel Pagan had a clutch, game-tying single in the eighth inning, and Pablo Sandoval hit a home run to stretched his number of games with an RBI to nine. 

For the Cards, Allen Craig doubled in the first run of the game in the first inning and hit a solo home run in the sixth, giving St. Louis a 4-3 lead.   Matt Carpenter extended his hitting streak to eleven games, with two hits, including a ninth inning single that brought the Cards to within one run.  John Jay had two singles on the night.

Pitching.  

Ryan Vogelsong started and went into the seventh, pitching to two batters, Peter Bourjos, who singled, and Jaime Garcia, who advanced him to second.   Javier Lopez then came in  and got Matt Carpenter to ground out to Morse at first, and got Kolten Wong to pop up to Brandon Crawford at short to end the inning, and set him up for a win after the Giants stormed back in the eighth.

San Francisco Giants Jean Machi

Mar 17, 2014; Tempe, AZ, USA; San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Jean Machi (63) pitches in the ninth inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Tempe Diablo Stadium. The Angles won 8-7. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

A tip of the defensive cap to Jean Machi, who came off the mound like a blur, to bare-hand a swinging bunt off the bat of Matt Holliday, leading off the eighth, and gun him down at first.  He then got Allen Craig to look at a called third strike and handled Yadier Molina’s come-backer easily to end the inning. 

Sergio Romo pitched the ninth with a bit of drama, as he allowed two on with two outs before getting Wong to pop out to Joaquin Arias at third, ending the game.

Jaime Garcia started for the Cards and went seven, giving up three runs on five hits, while walking none and striking out six.  Carlos Martinez began the eighth, but it was Trevor Rosenthal who gave up the big two-RBI double to Morse.  Sam Freeman mopped up in the ninth for the Cards.

The game tonight, kicking off a seven game road trip to St. Louis and Cincinnati, is a key victory for San Francisco, not only extending their current winning streak to three (7 of 8), but also continuing their dominance in series opening games, with a 13-5 record.

The Giants’ overall record of 35-19 is the best in the majors, and this road trip, just like the earlier one back to the East Coast, is another in a series of tests to see how the Giants measure up to the rest of baseball, not part of the NL West.  Right now, their record is 17-6 against all opponents not in the Wild, Wild West.  

I’d say that stacks up pretty well.

Pablo Sandoval of the San Francisco Giants

oMay 25, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants infielder Pablo Sandoval (48) celebrates with teammates after the Giants defeated the Minnesota Twins 8-1 at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

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