What we learned when the Giants beat the Cards for their fifth straight win

SAN FRANCISCO — The clearest sign yet that the Giants have turned a corner came not from one of the players, but from an opponent. Even Paul Goldschmidt can’t slow them down right now.

Goldschmidt hit his 29th and 30th career homers early against the Giants, but Anthony Desclafani and the lineup put them away. The Giants won 7-3, extending their winning streak to five games and making it 11-13 after a nightmare start to April.

The Giants faced the lefty for the ninth time in 14 days, but they were better prepared for Steven Matz than they have been for most of the month. Mitch Haniger got all the attention Monday, but Austin Slater, who was one of the leading hitters against lefties, also returned and reached base on his first three pitches Wednesday.

Slater’s RBI single in the fourth tied it shortly after LaMonte Wade Jr. homer, erasing the early damage done by Goldschmidt, who is on Mount Rushmore of the Giant Killers. The Giants got a break later when Wilmer Flores’ two-run shot to center was dropped. In the new life, the Giants took the lead on a wild pitch, and Flores added to it with a two-run shot in the seventh.

The insurance runs were needed as the Cardinals rallied in the ninth. They loaded the bases for Goldschmidt, but Camilo Doval got him to hit a game-ending double play.

Lefty Night LaMonte

Mike Jastrzemskis was scratched from the lineup late with a side strain, giving Wade a rare start against a left-handed pitcher. He took full advantage of it.

Wade hit a home run into the visiting bullpen in the fourth to put the Giants on the board against Matz. The homer was the first of his career against the lefty.

Entering the night, Wade had a .112 average against left-handed pitchers, including two hits in 11 at-bats this season. Given the quality of his plate appearances early on, there’s no reason the numbers should be that low. Perhaps Wednesday’s swing was the start of something new.

Property is Ownage

Blake Sabol’s walk prevented Goldschmidt from becoming a star on Tuesday when he drove in a two-run eighth to briefly give the Cardinals the lead. A day later, nothing could stop him.

Goldschmidt homered in his first two at-bats and reached base four times. As much as Max Munsey has been at Oracle Park in recent years, he still has a long way to go to reach Goldschmidt’s eminence.

The longtime Diamondbacks and Cardinals star has a .970 OPS in 157 career games against the Giants, with 30 homers and 107 RBI. In 2022, when he was the National League MVP, Goldschmidt had a .981 OPS, 35 homers and 115 RBI in 151 games. He’s essentially had an MVP season against the Giants over the last 13 years, though given how dominant he’s been at times, the only surprise might be that the numbers aren’t even more compelling.

Sizzling Sabol

The night after he left the house, Sabol hit a left-hander with two strikes and a 101-mph fastball with two strikes. He also stole his second base of the season and made a perfect throw to second to catch the runner.

Sabol looks like a potential catcher, and the Giants suddenly feel a lot better about their young group of catchers. Joey Barth was hitting .303 before his groin injury, and when the Giants needed to add a catcher to their bullpen, Ricardo Genovese got the call over Gary Sanchez because of his good work in Triple-A.

During Wednesday’s game, the Giants announced that former first-round pick Patrick Bailey has been promoted to Triple-A. Bailey had a .400 on-base percentage and a pair of homers in 14 Double-A games and is considered ready for the big leagues defensively.

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