Cardinals aim for sweep against slumping Giants

MLB Baseball

The St. Louis Cardinals are in position to sweep the host San Francisco Giants due to a player who is hitless in seven at-bats with five strikeouts over the first two contests of the three-game set.

Dylan Carlson’s bat has been quiet entering Wednesday’s finale of the series, but his glove saved Tuesday’s 6-5 victory.

With runners on first and third and two outs in the bottom of the ninth, San Francisco’s Jason Vosler hit a drive to deep left on a night in which swirling winds had led to some treacherous moments.

Carlson headed back and caught the ball just before smacking into the wall to prevent the Giants from notching a dramatic walk-off victory and give the Cardinals their sixth victory in the past nine games.

Suddenly, the 22-year-old Carlson became the hero despite going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.

“What a play. D.C. is very mature for his age,” St. Louis All-Star third baseman Nolan Arenado said. “He didn’t take his at-bats to his defense; he’s always staying ready. That’s the sign of a good player. It was an unbelievable play and a good win.”

Arenado was one of the hitting stars, as he went 3-for-5 with a two-run homer on Tuesday and is 5-for-9 in the series. The blast was Arenado’s 17th of the season but only his second in the past 11 games.

“I feel like I’ve been just a little off,” Arenado said. “It was great to see that ball go out.”

Arenado has 32 career homers against the Giants, his most against an opponent. He spent his first eight seasons with the Colorado Rockies — an NL West foe of San Francisco — before being traded to the Cardinals in the offseason.

Meanwhile, the Giants are looking to break out of a slump in which they have lost six of their past nine games. Their lead in the National League West is just a half-game over of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

San Francisco catcher Buster Posey has missed the past two games with a left-thumb injury and is unlikely to play on Wednesday. He was hurt during Sunday night’s win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

“I think the most important thing we can do with Buster right now is just check in with him on a daily basis and just get a feel for how he’s recovering from the thumb issue,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said. “We’ll keep doing that.”

Brandon Crawford continues to be a force for the Giants and was 4-for-5 with three RBIs on Tuesday. He has at least three hits in three of his past four games and is 11-for-17 (.647) during the stretch.

Left-hander Alex Wood (7-3, 3.89 ERA) will be on the mound for the Giants. He has struck out 81 in 76 1/3 innings over 14 starts.

Wood beat the Diamondbacks in his last turn when he gave up two runs and four hits over five innings. He struck out eight and walked three.

The 30-year-old Wood is 0-1 with a 4.96 ERA in four career appearances (three starts) against the Cardinals. Paul Goldschmidt has four homers off him and Arenado two.

St. Louis will counter with right-hander Johan Oviedo (0-4, 5.14).

Oviedo again seeks his first major-league victory. The 23-year-old is 0-7 with a 5.25 ERA in 16 appearances (15 starts) over the past two seasons.

Oviedo, who has never faced the Giants, is 0-4 with a 6.08 ERA in nine career road starts.

The Cardinals hope to have outfielder Tyler O’Neill back in the lineup. He was a late scratch Tuesday due to an allergic reaction to some food he ate.

–Field Level Media

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