ST. LOUIS -- With his 100th career home run, Yadier Molina completed the Cardinals' come-from-behind, 4-3 victory to close out a nine-game homestand and series win over the Giants at Busch Stadium on Wednesday.
"You always dream about your first homer and your 100th," Molina said. "I was glad that it came at a good time and was able to help my team win."
Molina broke a 3-3 tie with his leadoff blast off reliever Hunter Strickland in the eighth, one inning after the Cardinals manufactured a game-tying rally. They scored that seventh-inning run when Tommy Pham sprinted home safely as second baseman Kelby Tomlinson tried for a forceout at the plate.
"It just wasn't probably quite hit hard enough, he just got enough of it," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "We were trying to cut that run off. The throw looked like it was right there but the runner got there at the same time and that's a tough play. It would have been nice if he hit it just a little bit harder."
The Giants had taken the lead by scoring three times off Cards starter Jaime Garcia, who allowed six singles over his 6 1/3-inning start. Giants starter Matt Cain bought time for his offense to peck away after allowing two early runs to St. Louis. Cain did not allow a hit over the last three innings of his six-inning outing.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Gone too early? Garcia looked surprised to see manager Mike Matheny make his way to the mound with one out in the seventh to end Garcia's night at 82 pitches. Garcia had allowed two runs and six hits, all of which were singles. Three of those, including the one to open the seventh, hadn't gotten beyond the infield. The move to remove Garcia backfired when reliever Steve Cishek allowed a go-ahead RBI single to Tomlinson.
"Realizing that's probably going to be his last inning anyhow, is there anything we can do to give us a chance to leave that runner stranded?" Matheny said, explaining the timing. "Bring in a right-hander to face the two righties coming up. It didn't work. The bloop to right got us. But in that particular situation, seeing what we had seen the previous two innings, we have to take our best shot."
Helping himself: Cain hit into two key sacrifices that led to Giants runs. In the fifth, his fly to center scored Brandon Crawford for the Giants' first run, and his bunt in the seventh moved Juan Perez into scoring position, where he came around to score on Tomlinson's hit, giving the Giants a brief lead.
"I got in the cage a little bit more and worked with our hitting coaches to kind of see some stuff and start putting the ball in play a little more," Cain said. "To be able to have a chance to get an RBI with the bases loaded there was helpful, and then being able to sacrifice there in the top of the seventh was good to sneak out another run." More >
Web gem: Perez robbed Stephen Piscotty of a home run in the bottom of the first. Perez scaled the center-field wall and reached over the fence to pull in the drive to keep the game scoreless at the time.
"You always want to [take away] a home run as an outfielder and finally I got one," Perez said. More >
Piscotty's payback: After watching Perez steal a home run away from him in his first at-bat, Piscotty sent his next hit where Perez couldn't reach. Swinging on a first-pitch slider in the third, Piscotty deposited the pitch into the left-field seats for his second career home run.
"Maybe subconsciously I was thinking that, but, no, I was just trying to get a good pitch to hit," Piscotty said when asked if he aimed somewhere besides center field in that second at-bat. "It was nice that it went out." More >
"He looked like he had a bead on it the whole time and the way the ball's been carrying here I didn't know if it was going to have a chance to get out or not, so I was a little up in the air on what was going to happen. Then all of a sudden he just climbs the wall and catches it."-- Cain on Perez's catch.
"I made a couple of mistakes, paid the consequences, but at the same time, I was able to get some big outs when we needed them. Whether you have your best stuff or don't, you want to give your team a chance." -- Garcia.
WHAT'S NEXT Giants: The Giants will continue a seven-game road trip, starting a four-game series at Pittsburgh on Thursday at 4:05 p.m. PT. A pair of righties will kick off the series as the Giants send Jake Peavy to the mound against the Pirates' Charlie Morton.
Cardinals: After an off-day Thursday, the Cardinals will begin a 10-game, West Coast road trip with a stop in San Diego. Right-hander John Lackey will start the series opener Friday against Andrew Cashner. First pitch is scheduled for 9:10 pm CT.