Jaime Garcia threw 7 1/3 innings of one- run ball and the St. Louis Cardinals downed the San Francisco Giants, 4-1, in the opener of a two-game series on Wednesday.
Garcia (3-2) scattered nine hits and struck out nine without issuing a walk to get the win. Fernando Salas and Marc Rzepczynski combined to finish the eighth and Jason Motte worked around a base hit in the ninth to secure his seventh save of the season.
David Freese finished 3-for-4 with a solo home run, Skip Schumaker had a pinch-hit, two-run double and Allen Craig contributed an RBI for the Cards, who have won two straight since dropping four in a row.
Madison Bumgarner (5-3) allowed four runs on seven hits while striking out three without walking a batter in 7 1/3 innings to absorb the loss.
Buster Posey had an RBI single among his three hits for the Giants, who have dropped their past two to fall a game under .500 for the season.
"I think we're OK. We know what we need to do, what we need to work on," said Bumgarner. "We know how to pick each other up."
With the game tied at one, Freese put the Cards ahead for good in the seventh when he barreled up a hanging curveball from Bumgarner and sent it over the wall in left for a 2-1 St. Louis lead.
Freese had been hitless in his previous five games entering Wednesday.
"I've definitely had a rough week, but you just show up and keep working," he said. "It was nice to help the team tonight.
Garcia helped his own cause with a single in the eighth and Furcal followed with a double into the right field corner to put runners on second and third. Schumaker then ripped a double down the left field line to score Garcia and Furcal for the 4-1 advantage.
Nate Schierholtz laced a single into right to start the San Francisco ninth, but Motte fanned Brandon Crawford and induced a fly out from Aubrey Huff before striking out Emmanuel Burriss to end the game.
Earlier, St. Louis opened the scoring with a run in its first at-bat. Furcal led off with a single up the middle and Tyler Greene followed with a double to put runners on second and third with no outs. After Matt Holliday lined out, Craig grounded into a fielder's choice, which allowed Furcal to score.
San Francisco produced a run in the sixth to tie the game. Gregor Blanco beat out a bunt single to start the inning and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Charlie Culberson. Angel Pagan then reached on an infield hit to put Giants on first and third with one down and Posey slapped a single back up the middle to plate Blanco.
Entering Wednesday, Bumgarner had won each of his last eight home starts...17 of the Giants' first 18 games at AT&T Park have been decided by three runs or fewer...San Francisco fell to 4-12 when scoring fewer than four runs in a game this season...Bumgarner fell to 2-1 in three career starts against the Cardinals...The Giants finished 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position and stranded eight...Cardinals outfielder Carlos Beltran missed his third straight game due to right knee discomfort.