ST. LOUIS -- One night after blasting their way out of a mid-game deficit, the Cardinals generated a come-from-behind victory in contrasting fashion on Sunday. Pushing home the game-tying and go-ahead runs with groundballs in the infield, the Cardinals mustered a four-run sixth that lifted them to a 6-3 win over the Giants at Busch Stadium.
"To take a series away from those guys when they're playing well was big for us," said Cardinals third baseman Matt Carpenter, whose club handed the Giants their first series loss since May 9-11. "I think we're trending upwards anyways, but hopefully this will be a series that gets us on a roll."
Giants manager Bruce Bochy rotated through four pitchers before he found one who could record an out in the bottom of the sixth, which opened with back-to-back doubles by Carpenter and Aledmys Diaz to pull the Cardinals to within one. After a walk and hit batsman loaded the bases, an infield single by Matt Adams and a groundball off Yadier Molina's bat that shortstop Brandon Crawford couldn't corral allowed St. Louis to inch in front.
"I just didn't secure it into my hand to flip it or anything," said Crawford, the National League's reigning Gold Glove-winning shortstop. "That's not going to happen very often."
The bullpen's trouble cost Giants starter Jake Peavy, who left with the lead but took his sixth loss of the season. Opposing starter Carlos Martinez allowed three runs over six innings. Two of those runs came on a Jarrett Parker home run that the outfielder poked over the left-field wall.
"I didn't really understand how he was able to make such contact or why he did, but he did," Martinez said of Parker, whose homer traveled a projected 363 feet, according to Statcast™. "I was really shocked. It was a nasty pitch. I'm not sure how he was able to get it over."
Martinez, who had a 14-inning scoreless streak snapped by that homer, struck out seven.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Finding a way: Almost nothing has gone right recently for Molina, who entered the night with one hit in his previous 35 at-bats. His line score will show another hitless game on Sunday, but he still found a way to help push the go-ahead run across in the team's four-run sixth. After quickly falling behind, 0-2, he put a ball in play to score Matt Holliday. More >
"I haven't gotten a hit, but I'm making that hard contact," Molina said. "Obviously I'm a danger every time I step up. That's the way I think about it."
Belt's bad luck: The Giants had a chance to get back in the game, loading the bases with two outs in the seventh. When Brandon Belt connected against left-hander Kevin Siegrist and drove the ball to left field, an extra-base hit briefly appeared imminent. But the low line drive carried within reach of Holliday, who made the catch to end the threat.
"Belt smoked the ball," Bochy said. "But it was hit at him."
On the wild side: Martinez became the first Cardinals pitcher since Kyle McClellan in 2011 to uncork three wild pitches in a game. He worked around the first two before being stung by the last one, which put a pair of runners in scoring position with none out in the sixth. Martinez committed an error in the inning, too, but managed to limit the damage to one run allowed. In total, the Cardinals were charged with four wild pitches, the most in a game since '09.
"Just tough pitches," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of Martinez's pitches in the dirt. "Hard breaking balls running away from you. You can't really get over there to block. You just try to get a glove on them."
Feeling peeved: Peavy fell short in his attempt to secure his 150th career victory, though he entered the fateful sixth having allowed just one run and three hits. In his previous two starts, he allowed one run and seven hits in 13 2/3 innings. Before Peavy's last three starts, his ERA was a bloated 8.21, but now it's 6.41. Asked if he thought he had turned a corner toward improved consistency, Peavy said, "I hope so. I believe so and I hope everybody sees that except for the last three batters I faced …"
"Yesterday looked like Trevor. Today looked like Trevor who has had to throw three days in a row. Still good, and that's a step in the right direction for sure." -- Matheny, on closer Trevor Rosenthal, who pitched on three consecutive days for the first time this year
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Diaz became the first Cardinals rookie since Albert Pujols to collect his 30th RBI in his first 54 Major League games. Pujols had 38 in his 2001 rookie season. Diaz has one more RBI than Hall-of-Famer Enos Slaughter had through 54 games when he was a rookie with the Cardinals in 1938.
WHAT'S NEXT Giants: Following Monday's off-day, the Giants begin a two-game Interleague series against the Boston Red Sox at 7:15 p.m. PT Tuesday at AT&T Park. Rookie right-hander Albert Suarez, replacing Matt Cain in San Francisco's rotation, will make his second start.
Cardinals: After an off-day on Monday, the Cardinals will open a three-game series in Cincinnati with a 6:10 p.m. CT game on Tuesday. It will be the team's first trip to Great American Ball Park this season and a homecoming for starter Mike Leake, who spent parts of six seasons pitching for the Reds. Leake enters the start having posted a 1.59 ERA over his last five outings.