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Vogelsong leads Giants to shutout of Cards

ST. LOUIS -- Brandon Crawford, whose errant throw aided the Cardinals in their series-opening win, broke a scoreless tie with a sixth-inning RBI groundout that pushed the Giants toward a 2-0 win over St. Louis at Busch Stadium on Tuesday.

Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong made the most of little support as he threw the first six innings of San Francisco's 16th shutout. Though the Cardinals made Vogelsong throw 30 first-inning pitches, they mustered just two hits off the righty, who was making his third start in place of Mike Leake. The Giants pitching staff retired 15 in a row following Jhonny Peralta's fourth-inning double.

"It looked like he had a little more zip on it than the last couple starts we've seen," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of Vogelsong. "We've seen very good before, and there have been times when we've been able to get to him. Today, he got the best of us."

Vogelsong relishes the role of picking up the team on short notice after Leake couldn't go.

"This time of year is fun," Vogelsong said. "I know it's only August, but this stretch we're in right now, it's almost like playoff baseball for us. I enjoy that kind of intensity and pressure."

Coming off the shortest start of his career, Lance Lynn finished 6 2/3 innings, but remained winless in four career starts against the Giants. He issued a season-high five walks, including one that loaded the bases for Crawford in the sixth. Lynn's final two walks came after he allowed a seventh-inning single to pinch-hitter Madison Bumgarner, who then scored an insurance run when reliever Randy Choate hit Brandon Belt with the bases full.

Video: [email protected]: Matheny discusses tough loss

Unlikely catalyst: Faced with a shortened bench, Giants manager Bruce Bochy elected to go with Bumgarner as a pinch-hitter in the seventh. Bumgarner rewarded Bochy's faith by singling to left, starting a rally that gave the Giants their second run. It was Bumgarner's first hit in five career pinch-hit appearances, and the lefty starter is now batting .259 (14-for-54) with four home runs and seven RBIs this season.

Video: [email protected]: Bumgarner delivers pinch-hit single to left

"I didn't expect that," Matheny said. "But they're in the same spot we are; they have limited guys on their bench as well. The last at-bat he had, I think he hit a home run. I get it." More >

Stretching the seventh: With a one-run lead, Matheny gave Lynn three chances to close the seventh. Lynn wasn't able to do it. Bumgarner, in his first pinch-hit appearance of the season, dropped a single into left field. Walks to Gregor Blanco and Matt Duffy then loaded the bases and prompted Lynn's removal with a pitch count of 117. One inherited runner later scored.

Video: [email protected]: Lynn fans six, holds Giants to two runs

"[I] put Randy in a tough situation and we gave up another run. That's my fault," Lynn said. "That [hit by Bumgarner] wasn't damaging. It was the two walks after it." More >

Making amends: Aside from collecting the game-winning RBI, Crawford also extended his hitting streak to a career-high 12 games with a double in the fifth. Crawford is hitting .326 (14-for-43) with a homer, seven RBIs and seven doubles during that stretch.

Video: [email protected]: Crawford snaps scoreless tie with groundout

"The kid's just had a great year," Bochy said. "That's why the players picked him for the All-Star team."

Just short: The Cardinals enjoyed little offensive traction all night but still nearly scored the first run when Peralta drove a fourth-inning pitch from Vogelsong to deep left-center. It fell a few feet short of clearing the wall, however, leaving Peralta to settle for a leadoff double. Peralta never budged as Vogelsong retired the next three batters.

"[Chris] Heston was ready to run for him, but I thought Bum would get upset and challenge him to a race tomorrow." -- Bochy on whether he thought of pinch-running for Bumgarner after his single.

"Wasn't good enough to play today. There's some soreness, tightness in my hamstring, but there's no tears, no structural damage done to any ligaments, so that's obviously great news. -- Cardinals outfielder Jason Heyward, who was unavailable off the bench due to hamstring cramping. More >

Video: [email protected]: Cards TV gives an update on Heyward's injury

The Giants' last three regular-season wins against the Cardinals have all been shutouts. San Francisco last held the Cardinals to two hits in a Tim Lincecum shutout on June 29, 2009.

Giants: Right-hander Matt Cain takes the hill as the Giants complete a three-game series against the Cardinals at 4:15 PT. Cain has won just one of his last six starts and is 2-5 with a 6.63 ERA in 10 career starts against the Cardinals.

Cardinals: The Cardinals will close a nine-game homestand Wednesday when lefty Jaime Garcia takes the mound in a 6:15 pm CT game against the Giants. In five career starts versus San Francisco, Garcia has never pitched fewer than six innings or allowed more than three earned runs.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Joe Harris is a contributor to Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for and listen to her podcast.
Read More: Madison Bumgarner, Brandon Crawford, Ryan Vogelsong, Lance Lynn