SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — On a night when he came within a double of hitting for the cycle, Dexter Fowler was more impressed with two defensive plays he made in center field than anything he did at the plate.
It’s easy to see why considering what the rest of the Cardinals lineup did.
Fowler, José Martinez and Paul Goldschmidt homered, Tommy Edman tripled in the go-ahead run in the fourth inning and St. Louis beat the San Francisco Giants 9-4 on Friday night.
“I told the umpire, ‘Hey man, I still got it,'” Fowler said after driving in two runs and scoring three times. “Any time you can make plays to help the guy on the mound, it’s definitely a plus.”
The 33-year-old Fowler has spent most of his time in right field this season, but is likely to see more time in center now that Martinez is a mainstay in the lineup. Fowler’s two running catches in the deepest parts of Oracle Park, including one to take away a hit from Mike Yastrzemski in the fourth, certainly helped as did homering for the second straight day.
“He’s back to being in the strike zone,” manager Mike Shildt said. “He’s seeing the ball well, his swing feels good. Everything looks really good for Dex. Good at-bats, good ballgame.”
Kolton Wong had three hits and two RBIs to help the Cardinals win their third straight and keep pace with Milwaukee in the crowded NL Central. Matt Wieters added two hits and an RBI in a rare start in place of catcher Yadier Molina.
Buster Posey had two hits and Alex Dickerson homered for San Francisco, which had its four-game winning streak stopped. The Giants scored at least seven runs in each of the four previous wins, but were held to one over the final six innings by St. Louis.
“The offense hasn’t quite clicked here (at home),” San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. “Some things aren’t explained. The pitching and offense just hasn’t been good enough here. We had been playing good.”
Martinez hit a solo home run off starter Drew Pomeranz (2-9) in the first. DeJong followed with a single before Goldschmidt hit his 15th, a two-run blast to deep center that traveled an estimated 449 feet.
San Francisco came back with two runs in the bottom of the first, then tied it on Dickerson’s solo home run leading off the third.
Edman’s triple in the fourth drove in Wong and put St. Louis ahead to stay. It’s the third consecutive game that the Cardinals rookie has driven in the deciding run.
Fowler homered in the ninth after getting a single and triple in his previous two at-bats.
“We were trying to be too fine,” Fowler said. “You go out and you just try to take good at-bats instead of trying to do something and manipulate the ball into somewhere you can’t.”
Dakota Hudson (7-4) overcame three first-inning walks to win. The right-hander allowed three runs and struck out six in five innings.
Fowler’s RBI triple in the seventh was the ninth of the season for the Cardinals, matching their total from 2018.
COULD USE AN OPENER
Pomeranz’s problems in the first inning are nothing new. He has an 11.25 ERA and opponents are batting .365 with eight home runs off the left-hander in the opening frame. “I put us is in the hole,” Pomeranz said. “I have to do a better job in the first inning.”
The Cardinals called up 1B Rangel Ravelo from Triple-A Memphis and optioned OF Lane Thomas to the Redbirds. Ravelo, 27, played 838 career games in the minors before making his major league debut in June.
Cardinals: OF Marcel Ozuna is on pace to rejoin the team at some point after the All-Star break. Ozuna has been out with two broken fingers on his right hand but avoided surgery and has been progressing well in his rehab, according to manager Mike Shildt. … Molina (thumb) was given the day off. … RHP Mike Mayers (shoulder strain) threw before the game and will do so again Saturday.
Giants: LHP Travis Bergen (shoulder) suffered a slight setback in his rehab and will not throw for the next 10 days.
Madison Bumgarner (5-7, 4.02 ERA) starts for the Giants on Saturday. The big lefty needs one strikeout to move past Tim Lincecum into second place on the team’s all-time list in the San Francisco era. The Cardinals counter with RHP Miles Mikolas (5-8, 4.34) . Mikolas won in his only career start against the Giants last season.
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