St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols tosses the bat after flying out in the third inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants, Wednesday, June 1, 2011 in St. Louis.(AP Photo/Tom Gannam) By Tom Gannam
San Francisco Giants' Cody Ross just beats the tag from St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols as he dive back to first in the fourth inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, June 1, 2011 in St. Louis.(AP Photo/Tom Gannam) By Tom Gannam
St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Jake Westbrook pitches in the second inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants, Wednesday, June 1, 2011 in St. Louis.(AP Photo/Tom Gannam) By Tom Gannam
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Allen Craig made another statement for more playing time with the St. Louis Cardinals.(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
Craig had a two-run, pinch-hit homer off Tim Lincecum in a 7-5, 11-inning loss to the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday night. He also made the final out, hitting a grounder against Brian Wilson on the first pitch after a 16-minute delay caused when large sections of two light standards failed.
"I wasn't really thinking anything besides the lights went off," Craig said. "They all asked me if I could see and I just told them it's not my decision.
"Nothing I could do about it."
Nate Schierholtz hit a tying single with two outs in the ninth inning, then got the go-ahead hit in the 11th inning as the Giants shook off Lincecum's poor outing. Play resumed with a 2-1 count on Craig and a runner on first, and then the game quickly ended with Wilson's 15th save in 17 chances.
Cody Ross had four hits and an RBI and Freddy Sanchez had a three-hit game for the Giants, who came from behind twice and won for only the third time in nine games. Sergio Romo (3-0) worked the 10th.
Craig's pinch homer was the Cardinals' third of the season and put St. Louis up 5-4 against Lincecum. The two-time NL Cy Young winner struck out nine but gave up a career high-tying 10 hits and threw two wild pitches, one of them scoring a run.
Craig is 18 for 40 (.450) since May 19 and is 5 for 11 with a home run, three doubles and four RBIs in the first three games of a four-game series. He and Jon Jay should both garner more playing time with Matt Holliday set to go on the 15-day disabled list on Thursday with a nagging quadriceps injury.
"I feel like I have a better approach coming off the bench, just trying to keep it simple and not try to do too much," Craig said. "Sometimes you get the barrel out and do some damage, but I wasn't trying to do that or anything, I was just trying to hit it hard up the middle."
Lincecum was 3-1 with a 1.22 ERA in May, allowing only six earned runs in 36 2-3 innings. Before fading in the seventh he had retired eight of nine batters, five on strikeouts with the lone runner on a hit batsman.
Schierholtz and Brandon Crawford had RBI singles in the 11th off Ryan Franklin (1-4), pitching on the second straight night and in his second inning. Ryan Theriot had two hits and an RBI to extend his hitting streak to a career-best 15 games for St. Louis, which gave Jake Westbrook a 3-0 lead in the fourth.
Franklin, bumped from the closer role earlier this season, won his first game since July 30 on Tuesday.
"To be honest, I felt better the first inning than I did the second," Franklin said. "I was trying to battle through that second inning."
Aubrey Huff's homer off Miguel Batista ended a 6-for-38 slump and put the Giants ahead 4-3 in the top of the seventh.
Lincecum walked on five pitches to load the bases in the fourth after the Cardinals elected to intentionally walk eighth-place hitter Eli Whiteside. Westbrook escaped by striking out Andres Torres, giving the Giants seven stranded runners the first four innings.
Westbrook's only clean inning was the fifth, but the Giants opened the sixth with three straight hits and a sacrifice fly and chased him on Torres' two-out RBI double. Torres had been an easy out his first three at-bats with two strikeouts and a groundout to first.
Theriot had an RBI single in the third and the Cardinals made it 3-0 in the fourth on a wild pitch and Skip Schumaker's single that barely eluded both middle infielders.
NOTES: The Giants' Class A affiliate in San Jose set a team record with its 12th straight victory Tuesday. ... Pat Burrell, in a 4-for-25 slump, fouled out as a pinch-hitter on a 3-0 pitch in the eighth. He's started only eight of the Giants' last 22 games. ... Lincecum has given up 10 hits three times, the previous time on May 15, 2009 against the New York Mets. ... Huff leads the Giants with 24 RBIs but has only four in the last 17 games and had been batting only .175 against right-handers, among the worst in the league, before the homer. ... Lincecum threw one wild pitch his first 11 starts.