ST. LOUIS -- The San Francisco Giants have not been able to win on the road lately, and Brandon Belt has not had many hits against left-handed pitchers.
That combination was on the line again Sunday when Belt came up to pinch-hit in the seventh inning of a 2-2 game against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Belt, with just four hits in his last 19 at-bats against left-handers, changed both his and the Giants' luck by greeting reliever Randy Choate with a two-run double that sent the Giants to a 4-2 win, snapping their seven-game road losing streak.
"With the way things have been going, it was a much needed win," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy. "We've got to get better on the road."
A one-out single by Brandon Crawford and a walk to Gregor Blanco had chased St. Louis starter Tyler Lyons as Belt was sent up to hit for starter Chad Gaudin. The Cardinals brought in Choate, who had stranded 17 of 20 inherited runners this season and retired the first batter he had faced 15 times in 18 games. But he could not retire Belt.
Buster Posey was 4-for-4 with two singles and two doubles for the Giants, who have won only one game away from home in the last month.
The win went to Gaudin, making his first start in the major leagues since 2009. He worked six innings, allowing just four hits, one a two-run homer by David Freese.
Gaudin's performance also gave the Giants a big lift, Bochy said.
"He kept the ball down, in and out, and used his breaking ball well," Bochy said. "He just pitched great. He gave us a huge shot in the arm. He went out there and threw quality strikes."
Gaudin, who had made 117 consecutive relief appearances, said he did exactly what he had hoped to do.
"I wanted to go out there and give the team a chance to win," he said, adding that he would be open to remaining in the rotation.
"Whatever they need me to do, that's what I signed up for," he said. "That's what I'm going to do. I'll get prepared for whatever they tell me."
Sergio Romo recorded the final four outs to earn his 15th save.
As disappointed as the Cardinals were about the loss, manager Mike Matheny was more upset about umpire Clint Fagan's ejection of catcher Yadier Molina after a close play at first base that ended the third inning.
Molina threw his helmet to the ground after being called out and was immediately ejected. Matheny also was tossed when he came out of the dugout to try to defend Molina.
"The explanation was that he threw his equipment," Matheny said, "which is a very poor explanation in my mind. It's a shame. The guy plays with passion. He's frustrated with himself, and the wrong decision was made.
"He thought the ball was through, he thought it was going to be a run for our club and thought we had a rally going, and all of a sudden he's thrown out. He wasn't even close to talking about the call. I just don't understand how that call can be made if you're not looking for it, especially from a young umpire. That changed the game for us."
Until he was kicked out of the game, Molina said his frustration was at himself, not at the umpire.
"I didn't do anything," he said. "I didn't do anything to him or his call. I turned around going to the dugout and heard him say 'you're out of the game.' I was surprised."
Molina's brother, Bengie, happened to be coaching first base for the Cardinals and did his best to keep Yadi from reaching the umpire. If contact was made, it was incidental, he said.
"The umpire (Fagan) didn't have a feel for the game," Bengie Molina said. "Yadi was mad about the guy making a good play. It was a big turnaround in the game and he was out. He slammed the helmet. He wanted to go back to the dugout, and he threw him out."
The umpire's crew chief, Tim Welke, declined requests to make Fagan available to speak to a pool reporter.
NOTES: The Cardinals have not decided who will be their starting pitcher for Wednesday. Friday night's rainout, which forced a doubleheader on Saturday, has left them with a hole in their rotation. Matheny indicated that it will most likely be somebody currently in the team's bullpen. ... The rainout did not have that effect on the Giants, who have scheduled off days on Monday and Thursday this week. ... Both 3B Pablo Sandoval and OF Angel Pagan were once again out of the San Francisco lineup because of injuries. ... Lance Lynn (7-1, 2.91 ERA) will start for the Cardinals Monday in the opener of a four-game home series against Arizona, who will pitch Trevor Cahill (3-5, 2.88 ERA). After Monday's day off, the Giants will pitch Tim Lincecum (3-5, 5.12 ERA) against the Blue Jays' Josh Johnson (0-1, 6.86 ERA) on Tuesday in San Francisco.