By Jenifer Langosch and Oliver Macklin
SAN FRANCISCO -- Yadier Molina hit a two-run single in the fifth inning and Lance Lynn cruised through seven shutout innings as the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the San Francisco Giants, 6-0, on Saturday afternoon at AT&T Park.
The outcome helped St. Louis keep its division lead to 3 1/2 games, and in the process, San Francisco fell 3 1/2 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West.
Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong was chased from the game in the fifth after allowing an RBI single to Matt Carpenter and issuing a single and a walk to load the bases. The right-hander lasted 4 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on seven hits while striking out three.
"I felt good," Vogelsong said. "They're a tough team. They put good at-bats on you, foul pitches off, and they made me work hard. I felt like I threw the ball pretty good; it just didn't work out."
Lynn, who entered Saturday 0-5 with a 5.50 ERA in seven career starts vs. the Giants (including postseason), picked up his first win against San Francisco.
"I'm surprised any of our guys have beaten this team," said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, whose team had lost four straight at AT&T Park, including three on walk-off hits. "It seems like every time we play these guys we're walking off with our head hanging down. And especially here. [I have] a lot of great memories as a player here wearing their colors, but a lot of bad memories here wearing these ones and ones that stick."
Lynn kept the Giants' lineup at bay until he departed the game in the eighth inning with a mild ankle sprain. He allowed six hits and two walks with two strikeouts.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Yadi's big hit: Molina turned the fifth into a four-run frame for the Cardinals when he delivered a two-out, two-run single after the Giants brought reliever George Kontos into the game. A wild pitch by Kontos during Molina's at-bat led to another run. The pair of RBIs pushed Molina's season total to 58, tied with Jhonny Peralta for second most on the club. More >
Unfamiliar Byrd: The Cardinals' Brandon Moss led off the fifth inning with a deep fly ball to right-center field. Marlon Byrd, who doesn't have much experience playing right field at AT&T Park, drifted back to the wall, turned and looked up, thinking the ball left the yard. Instead, the ball bounced high off the wall and back toward the infield. Moss took third base as a result and came in to score on Carpenter's single later in the frame.
"You try to get a ricochet and hopefully it bounces to you, but it's really tough, too, because [Byrd] hasn't been out there a lot," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. More >
Lynn leaves injured: With the chance to finish the team's first nine-inning complete game of the season, Lynn was instead forced off the field after twisting his right ankle trying to field a ground ball in the eighth. Lynn had already been checked on by a team athletic trainer and Matheny earlier in the game when he stumbled awkwardly off the mound going after a grounder to his left. Nevertheless, Lynn spoke optimistically about making his next start in five days.
"As long as I can get up and walk, I'll be able to pitch next time out," Lynn said. "I'm not worried about it." More >
Can't stop the bleeding: Kontos has been one of the Giants' most reliable relievers this season, allowing just five inherited runners to score in all of 2015 entering Saturday. However, Kontos entered the fifth inning with the bases loaded and allowed all three runners to score.
"George has been really good all year, especially with guys on base," Vogelsong said.
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Bay Area native Stephen Piscotty tallied his first career four-hit game Saturday to extend his hitting streak to six games. He is 12-for-24 with 10 RBIs during that stretch.
WHAT'S NEXT Cardinals: The Cardinals will wrap up a 10-game road trip with a 3:05 pm CT game against the Giants at AT&T Park on Sunday. Lefty Jaime Garcia is 9-3 with a 1.64 ERA in his last 14 road starts.
Giants:Chris Heston rejoins the rotation Sunday, taking the place of the injured Matt Cain. Heston's last start came against the Cardinals in St. Louis, where he allowed one run in 4 2/3 innings in a no-decision. Heston has not faced live hitters since that outing on August 17.