ST. LOUIS -- The Giants had plenty of time to process and forget the first act on Wednesday night. Thats the one where they sent 10 men to the plate with a runner in scoring position and did not have a hit, while the St. Louis Cardinals had one such at-bat through six innings and Matt Carpenter, subbing for an injured Carlos Beltran, used it to take Matt Cain deep into the right-field bleachers.
After a three-hour, 28-minute intermission while rain soaked Busch Stadium, there was no twist ending. Along with the scoring opportunities, the Giants let a bigger one slip away with their ace on the mound and the Cardinals losing their hottest hitter in the first inning, losing 3-1 to fall behind two-games-to-one in the N.L. Championship Series.
Sparkplug second baseman Marco Scutaro played through the strained hip he suffered in Game 2 and singled twice. He was stranded both times, as the kind of clutch hit he delivered Monday to help the Giants capture their lone win in this series went missing.
All told the Giants left 11 runners on base, most of them early in the game with St. Louis right-hander Kyle Lohse seemingly on the ropes. Its something they likely cannot afford to do again Thursday, needing a win to even the series at 2-2 and avoid coming to within one game of elimination.
The Giants went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position, their lone run coming on Pablo Sandovals groundout in the third that scored Angel Pagan from third base. After Buster Posey walked to give the Giants runners on first and third with one out, Hunter Pence hit into an inning-ending double play.
It was one of three at-bats for Pence with runners on in which he came up empty. In the fourth, the Giants had men on second and third with two outs, but Pagan flied out to center field to end the threat.
Their frustration could be read on the face of Brandon Belt in the seventh. As rain began to fall in earnest, Belt took a borderline called third strike with two on and two outs in a 2-1 game. He grimaced and barked in protest before turning to the dugout.
Cain allowed the Cardinals third run in the bottom of the inning on a bases-loaded groundout by Shane Robinson. Scutaro fielded the grounder and appeared to think twice about throwing home for a force-out before taking the out at first.
As manager Bruce Bochy walked out to relieve Cain, play was halted. Heavy rain and winds pelted the field for the next several hours, sending the teams into their clubhouses and fans bolting for cover.
The game resumed with the Cardinals still batting, runners on second and third and two outs. Javier Lopez, who had officially entered the game before the delay began, got Jon Jay to ground out to end the inning, which closed the book on Cain nearly three and a half hours after Cain threw his last pitch.
The two-run home run Cain allowed to Carpenter in the third inning was the fourth home run of the postseason he has allowed. Cain gave up just one in 22 1/3 innings over his final five starts.
Cain limited the damage, though, not allowing another runner past first base until the seventh.
Cardinals closer Jason Motte pitched the final two innings to save the game.