ST. LOUIS -- Since playing .500 on the road is perfectly acceptable in baseball, the Giants should return home satisfied with the 5-5 record they built on their three-city, 10-game trip, which ended with Sunday's 6-3 loss to the Cardinals.
But surrendering leads here of four runs (Saturday) and two runs (Sunday) forced the Giants to focus on their overall success and not on the victories that eluded them.
Sunday's defeat, of course, resulted from St. Louis' four-run surge in the sixth inning.
"We couldn't find a way to stop the bleeding there," starter Jake Peavy said.
Peavy shouldered the blame as he dissected his confrontations with each of the three hitters he faced to start the sixth. The first, Matt Carpenter, doubled on an 0-2 changeup.
"The pitch to Carpenter was where we wanted it," Peavy said. "He just pushed his bat out. It was almost on the ground. I don't know how to combat that."
Aledmys Diaz followed with an RBI double on a 1-2 curveball that Peavy considered a mistake.
"Obviously, I would have loved to have that breaking ball back to Diaz," he said.
Matt Holliday then walked on a 3-2 pitch that barely skirted the strike zone. Throughout the at-bat, Peavy teased Holliday with similar deliveries, refusing to give the slugger the fat strike he wanted even after falling behind on the count.
"You can't throw the ball over the plate and give up the lead," Peavy said.
But that happened soon enough, and in somewhat surprising fashion. After Hunter Strickland came on in relief of Peavy and hit Stephen Piscotty with a pitch to load the bases, the Giants' infield defense was severely tested.
Matt Adams bashed a single off first baseman Brandon Belt's glove to drive in the tying run. Then shortstop Brandon Crawford reached but could not come up with Yadier Molina's grounder up the middle. Holliday scored the tying run, which would have happened even if Crawford fielded the ball cleanly, but Crawford was charged with an error.
Asked if he rushed too much to make the play, Crawford said, "I just didn't get a transfer. I don't know if it was necessarily from rushing it or anything."
Matters returned to normal for the infield, as second baseman Joe Panik deftly snared Greg Garcia's tricky fielder's-choice grounder, which scored the inning's final run. Crawford followed that with a characteristically slick stop on Randal Grichuk's grounder to start an inning-ending double play.
"The next one, I try to wipe [the error] off," said Crawford, the National League's reigning Gold Glove winner at his position. "That's why I've been able to play shortstop in the big leagues."
Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.