SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — David Freese went 3 for 4 with a homer and three RBIs and Kyle Lohse allowed one run in eight innings to help the St. Louis Cardinals snap a three-game losing streak with a 6-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Sunday.
Matt Holliday scored the go-ahead run and added an RBI single in his first game since undergoing an appendectomy April 1 to help the Cardinals win for just the third time in nine games this season. Skip Schumaker added a two-run double in a three-run sixth that gave the Cardinals the lead for good.
Barry Zito (0-1) walked five batters, including two who later scored, and the Giants were unable to complete their first three-game sweep of the Cardinals since 2001.
After San Francisco overcame ninth-inning deficits to win the first two games of this series, the Cardinals managed to hold onto this lead without using struggling closer Ryan Franklin. Lohse (1-1) allowed five hits and handed a big lead over to Trever Miller, who finished with a scoreless ninth.
St. Louis also got the win despite another rough day for three-time NL MVP Albert Pujols, whose early season struggles have played a big part in St. Louis’ slow start. Pujols, in the final year of his contract, went 0 for 5 to drop his average to .143 with just one extra-base hit through nine games.
Pujols hit into a double play after the Cardinals put the first two batters on in the third inning and was taunted before his next at-bat by fans chanting “one-five-six” for his season average at that point.
After Pujols grounded out to lead off the sixth, the Cardinals started their go-ahead rally when Zito walked Holliday and Allen Craig. Freese then hit an RBI double to make it 2-1 and Schumaker added a two-run double that hit off center fielder Aaron Rowand’s glove after a long run to the gap in left-center.
That ended the day for Zito, who allowed four runs, six hits and five walks in 5 1-3 innings to lose his first home start since getting booed off the mound on the final weekend of the regular season last year.
Holliday added an RBI single in the seventh, giving him four hits and three RBIs in just two games this season. Freese led off the eighth with his first homer off Guillermo Mota to make it 6-1.
The loss capped a celebratory weekend in San Francisco, where the Giants raised their World Series championship banner before Friday’s home opener, handed out World Series rings Saturday and honored 2010 NL Rookie of the Year Buster Posey in a pregame ceremony Sunday.
After getting wins following the first two celebrations, the Giants fell short Sunday and now can get ready to play games without all the pomp and circumstance.
“It’s been a lot of fun, especially these last couple of days,” manager Bruce Bochy said before the game. “It will be nice to have it behind us, too. We have to play the 2011 season.”
The teams traded RBI singles in the first two innings, with Pablo Sandoval getting a broken-bat, two-out hit to score Freddy Sanchez in the first for San Francisco and Freese answering with his own in the second. That’s where the game stayed until the Cardinals’ three-run sixth – their biggest inning of the season.
NOTES: Posey was one of a handful of regulars who got the day off for the Giants, with CF Andres Torres sitting with a mild left Achilles’ strain and SS Miguel Tejada getting a planned day off. … Cardinals C Gerald Laird was hit in the helmet by Sandoval’s broken bat on the first-inning single but stayed in the game.
Copyright Associated Press