By Jonathan Hawthorne and Michael Wagaman
SAN FRANCISCO -- Dexter Fowler tripled leading off the ninth and scored on a single by Kolten Wong, igniting the Cardinals' offense in a six-run inning as they completed their comeback with an 11-6 decision over the Giants on Friday night.
St. Louis trailed 5-2 after six innings and scored twice in the seventh on Randal Grichuk's 19th home run -- his second in as many games -- and added another run in the eighth to tie the game.
Stephen Piscotty blasted a two-run homer in the ninth to emphatically cap the comeback. Piscotty also keyed the seventh-inning rally when he tripled. With the win, the Cardinals remain four games back for the second Wild Card spot and six behind the Cubs in the National League Central Division hunt.
"We have a lot of people say a whole lot of things about our club but one thing they can never say is this team quits," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "We get down, we get the wind kicked out of us a little bit and they fight. That's a skill, to have that kind of tenacity, to have that belief in themselves and each other. It's going to pay off."
The Giants' offense got a spark when Brandon Crawford belted his 13th homer in the second, a night after he had a home run overturned by replay review. Buster Posey scored twice and starter Johnny Cueto allowed two runs, four hits and struck out two batters over 5 1/3 innings in his return from the disabled list for his first start since July 14.
"The tough thing is we played so well for six innings," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "It just got away from us. You give them credit; they mounted quite a comeback and swung the bat well against our guys. It's a tough one because we're going through another tough streak here. Johnny threw so well and things were looking good. And it got away."
The Giants scored five of their six runs off St. Louis starter Jack Flaherty in his Major League debut. Ranked as the organization's No. 3 prospect by MLBPipeline.com, Flaherty allowed eight hits and struck out six over four innings of work.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Cards knot it up: St. Louis' chances at tying in the game in the eighth appeared bleak after Giants reliever Mark Melancon retired the frame's two opening batters. But Piscotty singled and Greg Garcia lifted a ball that hit the lip of the grass in left field and kicked to the wall. Gorkys Hernandez picked it up and hurled it into the infield, but Garcia was already sliding into third, as the Cardinals tied the game.
Grichuk blast: The Cardinals' left fielder stayed hot with a two-run homer in the seventh inning, his second in as many days. The blast, which cut the deficit to 5-4 and scored Piscotty, was part of a breakthrough inning for the Cards against Giants reliever Hunter Strickland.
"Great late offense, especially being down and even just getting back into it," Matheny said. "The guys in the bullpen did a terrific job and gave the offense time to get rolling."
BADER'S MILESTONE Harrison Bader, the team's No. 5 prospect, belted his first career Major League home run during his at-bat in the third inning. He knocked in Wong on a shot that measured 395 feet by Statcast™. Bader was promoted Friday from Triple-A Memphis.
"I think the ball was carrying probably a little bit more. I definitely hit that first ball well, but I don't know if it goes out if it's a colder, windier night."-- Crawford, on his homer amid a heat wave in the Bay Area
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Cardinals' four triples against the Giants were the most they have hit in a game since April 27, 2003, at Florida. The four also marked the second-most by an opponent in AT&T Park history.
UNDER FURTHER REVIEW
The Cardinals unsuccessfully challenged Piscotty's leadoff triple in the seventh. Piscotty was initially awarded a triple after his hit, which traveled 412 feet according to Statcast™, bounced off the top of the right-center field wall and bounced back into the field of play. A replay review confirmed the initial call.
WHAT'S NEXT Cardinals: Right-hander Lance Lynn (10-6, 3.14 ERA) pitches for St. Louis on Saturday and is unbeaten in nine starts since the All-Star game. Lynn has a four-game winning streak that dates to July 9. Game time is 3:05 p.m. CT.
Giants:Chris Stratton, who owns a 2-2 record and 2.67 ERA as a starter, takes the mound for Saturday's 1:05 p.m. PT contest against the Cardinals. Stratton turned in another strong outing against the D-backs last weekend, striking out 10 batters and allowing two runs over six innings.