ST. LOUIS (AP) - The San Francisco Giants' dispiriting loss came with a bit of positive news: Brandon Belt should be back soon.
Belt was hit on his left wrist by a pitch in the seventh inning of Tuesday night's 4-3 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals, but X-rays were negative and manager Bruce Bochy said the rookie slugger probably would miss just a couple days.
The defending World Series champions have been hampered by a slew of injuries, losing catcher Buster Posey last week for the rest of the season and third baseman Pablo Sandoval, pitcher Barry Zito and shortstop Andres Torres for huge chunks of time.
``It's just a tough patch,' pitcher Ryan Vogelsong said. ``But we've got to keep fighting, we've got to keep battling. Nobody else is going to feel sorry for us, so we've got to keep finding ways to win games.'
Belt was hit by Trever Miller and Emmanuel Burris batted for him in the ninth, striking out to end the game. Belt said he's broken his hand before after getting hit by a pitch and didn't think the injury was serious, but said as the game progressed the wrist stiffened.
``It got me pretty good,' Belt said. ``I'm a little stiff but we took a few X-rays and everything looked pretty good. Hopefully I'll get back out here as soon as possible.'
Skip Schumaker's infield RBI hit capped a three-run eighth inning, taking tough-luck Chris Carpenter off the hook for St. Louis.
Albert Pujols and Allen Craig hit RBI doubles in the eighth before Schumaker, who had been in a 2-for-19 slump, got the go-ahead single against Javier Lopez (2-1) on a perfectly placed grounder between first and second. Schumaker's headfirst dive into the bag beat the throw from second baseman Freddy Sanchez, who went far to his left to glove the ball.
Lopez broke late to cover first and both he and first baseman Belt were near the bag. Lopez was not on the base when he caught an offline, late throw.
``There wasn't much we could do right there,' Belt said. ``Freddy made a good play and unfortunately we just couldn't get an out.'
Ryan Franklin (1-3) struck out the side in the eighth in the first victory for the ex-closer since July 30. Fernando Salas finished for his 10th save in 10 chances.
Vogelsong pitched five effective innings for the Giants, yielding a run and six hits despite quibbles about the mound. It was the fifth consecutive solid outing for the right-hander, who replaced injured Barry Zito in the rotation in late April.
``I just never really got comfortable until about the third inning with the slope,' Vogelsong said. ``I don't know quite what it was.'
Vogelsong had been 1-4 with an 8.49 ERA in 14 career games against St. Louis, including four starts in 2004 while with the Pirates. He chalked up his strong start to ``luck, and I made some pitches when I had to.'
Carpenter had a season-high eight strikeouts but otherwise labored, working with runners in scoring position all but one of his five innings and leaving down 2-1 after 103 pitches. The ace right-hander remained at 1-5 but avoided losing four straight decisions for the first time since 2002 with Toronto.
Cody Ross had two hits and an RBI and Sanchez also drove in a run for the Giants.
``We had some opportunities to add on and we didn't do it,' Bochy said. ``Anytime you have a two-run lead in the eighth, those aren't fun to let slip away.'
Cardinals leadoff hitter Ryan Theriot singled in the fifth to extend his hitting streak to 14 games, the longest active streak in the National League.
Jon Jay and Pujols opened the eighth with doubles off Sergio Romo. With one out, Craig doubled off Lopez to tie it and Schumaker's hit came with two outs. Pujols has only six doubles after entering the year averaging 42 per season.
Lopez has allowed five runs in his last six outings covering three innings. He permitted one run in his first 19 appearances and had been 4-0 in 51 games since joining the Giants last August in a trade with Pittsburgh.
Pujols made his second start this month at third base after zero starts at the position from 2003-2010. He had only one chance on a groundout by Miguel Tejada in the third.
Outfielder Matt Holliday was scratched for the Cardinals, still nursing a left quadriceps injury that hindered his running in his first game back on Monday. He pinch-hit in the fifth and took a called third strike.
NOTES: Giants 1B Aubrey Huff, who has a team-leading 23 RBIs but only three the last 16 games, did not start. He had a broken-bat popup to first as a pinch hitter in the sixth. ... Jay batted an NL-leading .397 in May with three homers and 12 RBIs.
The Associated Press News Service
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