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What we learned as Giants bounce back to beat Cardinals

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Alex Wood

SAN FRANCISCO -- One of the worst home series of the year ended with the Giants picking up a game on their closest rival in the NL West standings. 

Led by Alex Wood, the Giants beat the St. Louis Cardinals 5-2 on Wednesday night, avoiding a series sweep. They went up 1 1/2 games in the division after the Los Angeles Dodgers lost to the Miami Marlins for the third straight game, and they walked off the field poised to pick up another game on the San Diego Padres, too. 

Wood had his best start in a couple of months, throwing 94 pitches and allowing just one run and three hits in seven innings. The Cardinals got an early run but then spent the rest of the night shaking their heads as Wood mixed it up with his slider and sinker. 

The Giants got that first run back and then took the lead on Mike Yastrzemski's double in the second. Donovan Solano's broken-bat double to left tacked on an insurance run, and it would be needed as the Cardinals woke up in the eighth. 

Matt Carpenter led off with a double and an infield single set the stage for Paul Goldschmidt, who singled to left. Nolan Arenado was up next and Rogers fell behind 2-0, but he got Arenado to hit into an inning-ending double play. Darin Ruf put the game out of reach a few minutes later with a towering two-run shot to dead center. 

Leading The Way

In the top of the sixth, with the Giants holding a two-run lead, Wood struck out Dylan Carlson and Goldschmidt and got Arenado to pop-up behind the plate. As Arenado angrily slammed his helmet down, Wood's number was retired at Oracle Park.

 

Wood was the lone lefty starter to face the two Giants-killers in this series and he got off to a rough start, walking Goldschmidt and allowing an RBI double to Arenado. But he handled them after that, and really didn't run into very much trouble at all. Wood retired 12 of 13 before an infield single with two outs in the seventh. He finished that inning at 94 pitches and turned it over to the bullpen. 

This was Wood's first time going seven innings since May 9 against the Rangers. It was his first time allowing one run since his next start, May 16 against the Pirates. Wood finished the first half with a 3.67 ERA in 15 starts. 

Fresh Beef

Yastrzemski gave the Giants a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the second when he lined an RBI double off the center field wall. As he was standing on second base, young right-hander Johan Oviedo turned and appeared to tell him to "shut the f--k up." Yastrzemski countered by telling Oviedo that he should throw a pitch.

It was hard to tell what the dispute was over. It's possible Oviedo thought Yastrzemski was relaying signs from second base, and it's also possible Yastrzemski said something after Oviedo kept checking the card in his pocket to check his own signs. The latter seems slightly more likely.

There would be no additional fireworks, though. Yastrzemski came up with two on and two down in the fourth and grounded out to first. He arrived at the bag at the same time as Oviedo, but they didn't look at each other or exchange any additional words. 

Another One Down?

LaMonte Wade Jr. has done a fantastic job of filling in at first base with Brandon Belt on the IL, but he came out of the game after the sixth inning with what the Giants were calling a left hand strain. It appeared Wade got spiked on a play at first in the top of the fifth inning, but it's unclear how he might have hurt his hand. 

Darin Ruf took over for Wade and would be the choice if the injury needs a few days to heal. Wade has settled in as the leadoff hitter against right-handed pitching and done a nice job; he had two walks and a run before departing Wednesday.