SAN FRANCISCO -- Like all managers, Gabe Kapler won't be particularly critical of his team, but it's not hard to tell when he's displeased with the effort on a given night. After many of this season's losses, Kapler has talked of the Giants having a better brand of baseball in them or being capable of better at-bats, but that wasn't the case Tuesday night.
The Giants lost for the sixth time in their last nine games, leaving 13 runners on base against Adam Wainwright and five St. Louis Cardinals relievers. The final two were stranded when Dylan Carlson tracked down Jason Vosler's deep liner with two outs in the ninth, clinching a 6-5 win for the visitors.
"It was an example of sort of how our night went offensively," Kapler said. "We struck a lot of balls very well. (Brandon Crawford) had a swing he didn't get rewarded for, (Wilmer) Flores the same thing on a line drive to left field that he hit 106 mph and then that one from Vos. There are some nights -- and I think I'm very candid about this -- where I just don't think we have great at-bats and I share that with you.
"Tonight I thought we had really good at-bats and I'll just share that I think the ball didn't fall for us and we obviously can do better, but I thought the at-bats were fairly strong and I thought Vosler's at-bat at the end was a good one."
The Giants did have the six hardest-hit balls of the night, four of which went for outs, but to be fair, they did get some help, too. Over the final four innings, three pop-ups dropped in front of Cardinals fielders, two of which went for base hits. Those balls had a combined hit probability of 10 percent, with Flores' two-out pop-up in the eighth -- with a hit probability of one percent -- getting the Giants within a run.
On a night when they were frustrated with some results, the Giants got some gifts, and it looked like they might pull this one out. Crawford's fourth hit got them going in the ninth and Donovan Solano was walked on four pitches. After Steven Duggar's groundout that moved Crawford to third, Chadwick Tromp hit a pop-up that the Cardinals finally handled cleanly. That set up Vosler, called up earlier Tuesday.
Vosler hasn't had a ton of hits in his cameos but has shown a flair for the dramatic, and he lifted one to the track in left. Carlson looked uncomfortable battling the wind earlier in the night, but he tracked the ball down as he slammed into the wall.
With the speedy Duggar taking off from first, the Giants would have won had the ball hit the wall and bounced back toward the infield. Instead, they were left watching a raucous Cardinals celebration.
Kapler watched from the bench and said he knew the ball wouldn't clear the wall but thought it had a good chance to drop. As Crawford headed home, he watched the ball sail.
"I had a pretty good view from third base. He hit it well and it carried a little bit," he said. "(Carlson) made a good play on it. It easily could have gotten off the wall."