Giants try to secure series win over Cards behind Bumgarner

( - San Francisco Giants left-hander Madison Bumgarner wasn't his dominant self the last time out and aims to bounce back Thursday in the finale of a three-game series versus the St. Louis Cardinals at AT&T Park.

Bumgarner allowed a season-high five runs in six innings of a 6-2 loss to Cincinnati last Friday. The Reds recorded nine hits against Bumgarner, who had lasted at least seven innings in his previous six starts, allowing only eight runs in that strong stretch.

The southpaw is still 7-2 in his last nine decisions and 9-5 on the season with a 2.90 earned run average. Bumgarner is 3-3 in six career starts against St. Louis and defeated the Cardinals back on May 30 with 10 strikeouts over seven scoreless innings of a 9-4 win. He only gave up three hits.

Bumgarner will try to win 10 starts for a fourth straight season.

Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong was aiming for his sixth win on Wednesday, but was dealt the loss even though he yielded two runs in seven innings with eight K's and one walk. Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright was a bit better, tossing 7 2/3 shutout innings to become the NL's first 11-game winner (11-4).

"We needed a great effort going against one of the elite pitchers in the game, and (Vogelsong) gave us what we needed," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said following the 2-0 loss. "We just couldn't get any runs for him,"

San Francisco has been blanked twice in the last three games and Joe Panik finished with a team-best two hits in defeat. The Giants' first five batters of Gregor Blanco, Hunter Pence, Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval and Michael Morse combined to go 1-for-19.

The Giants, who are only a half-game ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers for the NL West lead, ended a four-game slide with Tuesday's win and are only 2-7 on a 10-game homestand. They will stay in California the next five games with visits to San Diego and Oakland.

St. Louis ended a three-game slide with last night's win thanks to another dominant performance by Wainwright. The right-hander received his support when Matt Carpenter and Matt Holliday produced RBI singles in the third inning.

"It was nice to get a little bit of room," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "We'll take what we got."

Sitting 5 1/2 games off the NL Central lead, the Cardinals are 4-5 on a 10- game road trip and will return to the Gateway City for seven games versus Miami and Pittsburgh. Before Wednesday's win, the Cardinals had been shutout three times in the previous five games.

Carlos Martinez gets the call for the Cardinals Thursday and they have won all three of his starts this season. Martinez is 1-3 with a 4.13 earned run average in 33 total appearances and he previously pitched in last Friday's 3-1 win at Los Angeles, charged with one run over 4 1/3 innings for a no-decision.

Martinez, a right-hander, has faced San Francisco twice in relief and is 0-1 with a 10.80 ERA in 3 1/3 innings.

San Francisco is 4-2 against St. Louis this season.