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St. Louis Cardinals hold off San Francisco Giants to win series

Jul 18, 2021; St. Louis, Missouri, USA;  St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Paul DeJong (11) runs the bases after hitting a solo home run off of San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Johnny Cueto (not pictured) during the third inning at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 18, 2021; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Paul DeJong (11) runs the bases after hitting a solo home run off of San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Johnny Cueto (not pictured) during the third inning at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Paul DeJong homered, Harrison Bader delivered a late tie-breaking RBI single and Wade LeBlanc yielded a run over five innings, as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the visiting San Francisco Giants 2-1 in Sunday’s decisive series finale.

With the game tied 1-1 in the seventh, Matt Carpenter dropped a ground-rule double into the right-field corner off ex-Cardinal John Brebbia. Two batters later, Bader beat out a check-swing roller to first base that scored pinch-runner Jose Rondon from third to put St. Louis ahead.

San Francisco managed only a Darin Ruf homer against five Cardinals’ pitchers. The Giants drew a pair of walks off St. Louis closer Alex Reyes in the ninth, but stranded both runners – and left 10 on base for the game.

After winning 7-2 in Friday’s series opener, the Giants totaled two runs in losing the next two.

DeJong continued his recent surge when he belted a Johnny Cueto pitch into the left-field seats in the third inning, to give St. Louis a 1-0 lead. The Cardinals shortstop is 10-for-18 with three homers and five RBIs in his last six games.

Ruff, however, answered with his own solo shot for the Giants in the top of the fourth, into the third deck of the left-field seats, off LeBlanc. San Francisco chased LeBlanc in the sixth after putting runners on first and third with no outs, but was unable to score.

In addition to Ruf’s homer, LeBlanc, who got out of a bases-loaded jam in the first, allowed two hits each to Donovan Solano and Mike Yastrzemski and struck out three with a walk over five innings.

Cueto also lasted five innings, giving up two hits and striking out five with a walk. On Sunday, he also became the seventh Dominican-born pitcher to throw 2,000 career innings, according to the Giants.

Four St. Louis relievers allowed three walks but no hits over four innings of work. Reyes overcame the two ninth-inning walks to record his 22nd save in as many chances.

–Field Level Media