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Cardinals at Giants Recap: Wainwright strong and the offense just good enough for a 2-0 win

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Well, it wasn't an offensive explosion, really... an offensive flare-up? Offensive sunburst? Either way, the two runs that the Cardinals scored was enough on a night that Adam Wainwright was his usual, reliable, effective self.  He didn't rack up the strikeouts, but he got 14 groundball outs to just 3 flyball outs.

The scoring for the Cardinals all happened in the third inning, when Oscar Taveras, starting in centerfield and hitting seventh, ripped an inside pitch for a double down the first baseline. Mark Ellis singled on a line drive to move Taveras to third before Adam Wainwright, in a moment of brilliant Mathenaging, struck out on a missed bunt.  Matt Carpenter singled up the middle to score Oscar, and then Matt Holliday singled through the right side to score Ellis

In the bottom of the 7th inning, in order to preserve the win, Mike Matheny made another odd move: he made one right decision, in bringing in Peter Bourjos to play defense, and he made one terrible one, in subbing out Oscar Taveras instead of Allen Craig (who again looked abysmal tonight. Just groundball after groundball).  Not only is Bourjos + Taveras better than Bourjos + Craig on offense right now, the combination is definitely better on defense as well, which was the entire point of the move!

The Giants wouldn't really threaten until the bottom of the 8th inning, when Joe Panik and Hector Sanchez reached on singles with two outs.  Matheny would bring in Neshek for Wainwright, and on a 3-2 count, Neshek would get Gregor Blanco to pop up to the shortstop.  With this outing, Wainwright now has gone 7+  with 0 or 1 runs given up in 11 of his 17 starts.

The 9th inning would start ominously: facing the heart of the order, Trevor Rosenthal got Hunter Pence to bounce to 2nd base. He got called out but a review would show that he was indeed safe.  Buster Posey would then bounce into a Fielder's Choice, with Carpenter throwing over to 2nd base for the out. Pablo Sandoval bounced into another Fielder's Choice: this time to Matt Adams, who would spin and throw to Jhonny Peralta at 2nd for the out.  Then, finally, Rosenthal struck out Michael Morse with the heat, and the Cardinals won the game.

Three Stars of the Game (by WPA)

  1. Adam Wainwright (+.384) - 7.2 IP, 1 SO, 2 BB, 4 H. As previously mentioned, 14 groundball outs.
  2. Matt Carpenter (+.156) - 3 for 4 and got the first RBI of the game
  3. Pat Neshek (+0.82) - Just one out, but it was a huge one in a highly leveraged situation.

Three ...not Stars of the Game (by WPA)

  1. Allen Craig (-0.86) - I think I've done this in my recaps 4 times and he's been the worst performer in all of them...
  2. Matt Adams (-0.59) - 0 for 4 and 2 strikeouts
  3. Jhonny Peralta (-0.51) - 0 for 3, but with a walk

Source: FanGraphs