ST. LOUIS -- In a game where the Giants had already outlasted Carlos Martinez, rookie third baseman Christian Arroyo capped a 12-pitch at-bat against Cardinals reliever Kevin Siegrist with a two-run double to help San Francisco steal a 3-1, 13-inning win at Busch Stadium on Saturday.
The Giants went 12 innings without advancing a runner into scoring position, the first team to do so since 1990. But when they finally did, they capitalized. A string of three successive one-out singles by San Francisco put Siegrist in a pickle, and he couldn't get out of it against Arroyo. The 21-year-old fouled off seven pitches before lining a changeup off the wall to plate the game's first two runs.
"In a situation like that, bases chucked like that in the 13th, I'm really just trying to get up there and see a pitch that I can try to do some damage with," Arroyo said.
After a sacrifice fly by Nick Hundley padded the lead, closer Mark Melancon came in to collect his second save in as many nights.
Though neither factored in the decision, Giants starter Jeff Samardzija and Martinez both dazzled with their strongest individual performances of the season. They became the first opposing starters to each complete eight scoreless innings in a game this season, and Martinez went one better by finishing nine for the first time in his career. He allowed two hits. Samardzija scattered five.
"You have a start like that, you don't think that's one that's going to end up getting away," said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, whose club has lost a season-high four straight games. "I believe we can put together runs on anybody. Sometimes they're harder to come by than others. It's just a shame to lose such a good start."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Too greedy: Some reckless baserunning from Matt Carpenter ran the Cardinals out of a potential game-winning rally in the ninth. With Samardzija out, Carpenter lined a ball off the left-field wall to lead off the ninth against reliever Josh Osich. He wasn't content with a standup double, however, and tried to stretch it into a three-base hit. But Giants left fielder Eduardo Nunez recovered in time to chase down the long carom and easily threw Carpenter out. It marked the fourth time this season that Carpenter has been out trying to advance an extra base.
"That was a case of him seeing something and trying to make it happen and afterwards realizing that wasn't the play," said Matheny.
"Saved us," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "No question. We were in a tough situation, probably putting a couple guys on, bases loaded, nobody out. That was a good break for us with the throw that Noonie made."
Strong relief: Giants reliever Hunter Strickland contributed two scoreless innings and helped push the game into the 13th by stranding a pair of runners in the 12th. Singles by Jedd Gyorko and Greg Garcia brought Randal Grichuk up with the winning run in scoring position. Strickland, who picked up his first win since June 18, struck him out on three pitches. The Giants limited the Cardinals to 1-for-7 with a runner in scoring position Saturday and twice stranded the go-ahead run at third.
"I would say so. I really felt great. The only thing on my mind was getting to the ninth inning and I got there." -- Martinez, when asked if this was the best start of his career
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
With another walk-free night Saturday, Samardzija has now faced 133 hitters, spanning four starts, since last issuing a walk. It's the longest such stretch of Samardzija's career and ties Tim Hudson (2014) for the longest by a Giants pitcher in the Wild Card era.
Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong exited the game after three innings due to left elbow discomfort, which surfaced when he was on the on-deck circle before his second-inning at-bat. He was replaced by Garcia and will be re-evaluated Sunday to determine his status for the series finale. More >
WHAT'S NEXT Giants: Right-hander Matt Cain (3-1, 4.04 ERA) starts the final game of the series Sunday, with first pitch scheduled for 11:15 a.m. PT. Cain is 2-5 with a 6.19 ERA in 12 appearances against the Cardinals and is 0-3 with a 7.62 ERA at Busch Stadium.
Cardinals: The Cardinals will close out an eight-game homestand with Sunday's 1:15 p.m. CT game against the Giants. Adam Wainwright draws the start and will be seeking to build upon his best performance of the season. Wainwright threw seven scoreless innings last Sunday to earn his third straight victory.