Giants 8, Cardinals 3

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP)—Since Jose Cruz Jr. joined the San Francisco Giants, he’s wanted to hit a home run into McCovey Cove.

He considers it a meaningless feat, really—but when he did it Tuesday, it felt good.

Cruz homered and drove in four runs and Jim Brower pitched 4 1-3 strong innings in relief of injured starter Kirk Rueter as the Giants defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 8-3 on Tuesday.

“That was a thrill,” Cruz said. “It’s been my goal for this year to get one. To do it, you have to crush the ball. It’s just a neat thing to do, like hitting one into the upper deck at Yankee Stadium.”

San Francisco shut down the NL’s top offense for the second straight day to sweep the two-game series in a whirlwind 20-hour homestand. The Giants, who beat St. Louis in the NLCS last season, went 5-1 against the Cardinals this season, holding them to seven runs in the five wins.

Brower (5-1) retired 10 in a row during one stretch after Rueter left in the second inning with a strained left shoulder. Brower added a single in the second and made a nice slide into home to beat the throw by shortstop Edgar Renteria as San Francisco took a 4-1 lead.

“The slide is the most memorable thing,” Brower said.

Brower allowed two hits and struck out two in the longest outing by a Giants reliever this season. He was being considered for a spot start Thursday so that Jason Schmidt could take an extra day of rest and start Friday instead. Now, manager Felipe Alou said he is still undecided on Thursday’s starter.

“I’ve been given chances the last couple weeks to work myself into different situations where they can rely on me,” Brower said. “I just think, ‘Get the next guy out.’ Being in the bullpen, I’ve developed that kind of mentality.”

Rueter, looking for his first victory in more than a month, was hurt after throwing a pitch to Dan Haren. Second baseman Ray Durham and shortstop Neifi Perez both rushed to the mound to check on the left-hander. Rueter walked off the field with assistant trainer Dave Groeschner.

Rueter, 0-2 in six starts since June 6, threw 30 pitches and had a 3-1 lead when he left the game. Preliminary results of an MRI showed no structural damage, but it wasn’t immediately known how long he will be out. He is on anti-inflammatory medication and will travel with the team to Colorado.

In the first inning, Cruz hit a 3-2 pitch from Haren (0-2) over the right-field fence and into the water of McCovey Cove for the 32nd “splash hit” in Pacific Bell Park’s four seasons. The Giants have 28 of those, including 24 by slugger Barry Bonds.

Only two of San Francisco’s three runs in the first were earned after a throwing error by St. Louis third baseman Scott Rolen. In the sixth, Rolen left the game with back and neck stiffness. His neck began to spasm while he argued with an umpire in the third inning.

Cruz hit a sacrifice fly in the second to score Durham, and Edgardo Alfonzo had three hits and an RBI for the Giants, who have won seven of nine. Cruz also made a great catch against the wall in right field on a hard-hit ball by Rolen in the first.

“That fence, you don’t know what it’s doing,” Cruz said. “It’s brick, it’s chain-link and it’s padding. Then it curves.”

Pinch-hitter Andres Galarraga homered in the eighth for the Giants, the 393rd of his career.

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa was ejected in the third for arguing a close call at first—the fourth time he’s been tossed this season.

“They did everything better than we did,” La Russa said of the series. “They held our offense down. I think it was more them than it was us. They just made good pitches.”

Bo Hart hit a leadoff triple to the wall in right-center in the first and scored on Jim Edmonds’ sacrifice fly as St. Louis took a 1-0 lead. Albert Pujols added an RBI double in the seventh and J.D. Drew hit a run-scoring double in the ninth.

Haren, who made his major league debut June 30 after being called up fromTriple-A Memphis, was tagged for six runs and five hits in 1 2-3 innings.


Bonds got the day off to rest. … St. Louis RHP Matt Morris threw in a bullpen session Tuesday. Morris is battling tenderness in his throwing shoulder and made his first start in 10 days Saturday at Chicago. “I felt great,” Morris said of his session. “No discomfort at all. It’s exciting.” … Alou will return to his native Dominican Republic during the All-Star break to visit his ill mother and attend the memorial service for his older brother, Francisco Rojas, who died Friday. … The Giants’ Marquis Grissom reached base fourtimes. … Galarraga got his fourth career pinch-hit homer.

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