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What we learned in Giants' quiet loss to Cardinals

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Tyler O'Neill homers

Next Man Up had no answer for Kwang Hyun Kim on Saturday in St. Louis. 

The Giants took the field without Buster Posey, both Brandons, and Evan Longoria, all of whom are dealing with injuries, and their replacements couldn't get to Kim, a savvy lefty who has dominated the Giants in two appearances this season. 

Kim threw six shutout innings, leading the Cardinals to a 3-1 win in the second game of the series. He is the only opponent who has thrown two scoreless starts against a tough Giants lineup this year. 

The Giants scattered five singles in the first eight innings, but the sixth one of the day -- this one by Wilmer Flores -- got them going against All-Star closer Alex Reyes in the ninth. A day after coming out with a hamstring scare, Brandon Crawford pinch-hit for Curt Casali and drew a walk, putting the tying run on first base. It was quiet from there, though. 

Steven Duggar popped up, Thairo Estrada struck out, and Mike Tauchman grounded out as the Giants fell to 58-33. Here are three things to know from one of the more lifeless losses of the season: 

The Best They've Seen

If the Los Angeles Dodgers or San Diego Padres want to overtake the Giants, they should probably just figure out a way to acquire Kim, a 32-year-old who has handled the Giants better than anyone this year. Kim threw seven shutout innings at Oracle Park earlier this month and backed that with six goose eggs Saturday. He allowed three hits, just as he did July 5.

 

To be fair to the Giants, Kim has actually been really good against everybody in recent weeks. He hasn't allowed a run in three July starts and has allowed more than one run just once in his last seven starts. Saturday's outing lowered his ERA to 2.87.

Not Digging The Long Ball

Anthony DeSclafani had another efficient outing going, but a couple of Cardinals took him deep and put three runs on his line in six innings of work. 

Tyler O'Neil was banged up the first time these teams played, but he made his presence felt in the second inning with his 16th homer of the year. O'Neil lined an elevated slider the other way to get the Cardinals on the board first. Entering the day, opposing hitters were batting just .172 off the pitch. 

DeSclafani settled down and got some quick outs, but the top of the lineup got to him in the sixth. Dylan Carlson led off with a double and Goldschmidt redirected a sinker to give the Cards a three-run cushion. The homer was Goldschmidt's 26th against the Giants. DeSclafani allowed more than two runs for just the second time in his last nine starts. 

Missed Opportunity

Kim was removed after just 85 pitches, and the Giants finally got their offense going. They scored their first run a few minutes after he departed. Flores walked, took second on a passed ball, and scored when O'Neil booted Steven Duggar's single to left. A single by Estrada put two on, and the Cardinals turned to hard-throwing lefty Genesis Cabrera. He struck out Alex Dickerson, who got a rare pinch-hit at-bat against a lefty, and then got Austin Slater to ground out.