'Near misses' sink Lynn in tough loss to Giants

Season-high five walks help set up two San Francisco runs

'Near misses' sink Lynn in tough loss to Giants

ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals starter Lance Lynn insisted he was not surprised to see Giants manager Bruce Bochy send his ace, Madison Bumgarner, to the plate in the seventh inning of Tuesday's 2-0 loss to San Francisco. Nor was Lynn all that bothered by the fact that Bumgarner marked the occasion by tallying his first career pinch-hit.

It was what followed that left Lynn stewing.

"That wasn't damaging," Lynn said of Bumgarner's two-out single to left. "It was the two walks after it."

On a night when Lynn walked a season-high five, the last two changed the complexion of the final few innings by helping San Francisco open up its lead.

With Lynn's pitch count already north of 100, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny gave his starter multiple chances to finish off seven innings for the seventh time this season. But Lynn first lost leadoff hitter Gregor Blanco on a full-count fastball and then filled the bases when another 3-2 fastball, this one to Matt Duffy, also missed the strike zone.

"Near misses," Matheny said afterward. "He was missing close to the plate. I thought he was making good pitches with his fastball all night long. He was getting some of those borderline calls, and it just sort of mounted up. We had two outs there with the pitcher coming to the plate and a single, walk, walk puts him in a bad spot."

Matheny on loss to Giants

It put reliever Randy Choate in a pickle, too. Matheny summoned the lefty specialist to retire the left-handed-hitting Brandon Belt, but instead watched Bumgarner trot home when Choate plunked Belt on his second pitch. The run was the final blemish to Lynn's pitching line.

"I put Randy in a tough spot," Lynn said. "That's my fault."

The five walks tied a career high for Lynn, who last allowed that many in a start in 2013. He wasn't stung by his first two walks Tuesday, one erased on a double play and the other intentionally issued so he could face opposing starter Ryan Vogelsong.

His third went to Buster Posey to load the bases in the sixth, though Lynn never intended to give the Giants' cleanup hitter any favorable pitches to hit with two on and the game scoreless at that point. It left Lynn to take his chances instead with Brandon Crawford, who produced the ground ball the Cardinals hoped to get, but one too slow to be turned into an inning-ending double play. The Giants went ahead, 1-0, on the productive out.

Tuesday marked the fourth time this season a Cardinals starter walked five in a game. The Cardinals lost all four.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.