Rosenthal can't keep it close for Cardinals
ST. LOUIS (AP) More than half of Trevor Rosenthal's games have come in non-save situations. The St. Louis Cardinals closer is finding it hard staying sharp when he doesn't get enough work.
''We just need to get him right,'' manager Mike Matheny said Friday night after a tight game unraveled late due to Rosenthal's wildness in a 5-1 loss to the San Francisco Giants. ''I didn't want to pile pitches on him if we didn't have to, so we tried to get him some help.''
Rosenthal set a franchise record with 48 saves last season but is just 8 for nine this season. He walked three batters starting the ninth and was charged with three runs, exiting with a 3.71 ERA.
The hard-throwing right-hander entered with the Cardinals down by one, pitching in a non-save situation for the 10th time in 19 games. He's worked just 17 innings thus far.
''Listen, Trevor's got one of the best arms in the game,'' losing pitcher Adam Wainwright said. ''He's going to be just fine. He's just got to keep going.''
Johnny Cueto worked around a season-high five walks and tied Stephen Strasburg, Jake Arrieta and Chris Sale for the major league lead with nine wins. Cueto (9-1) allowed a run and four hits in six innings.
Cueto hadn't walked more than two in any of his first 11 starts for his new team. Six of his victories have come on the road.
Five Giants relievers combined to give up just one hit, and eight singles were enough offense.
Wainwright (5-4) allowed two runs in seven innings. The Cardinals were held to one run for the second straight game.
''I'm happy where I'm at,'' Wainwright said. ''Hate to give up the lead, but they're going to beat you with singles sometimes. Rarely.''
San Francisco bunched three straight two-strike hits in the fourth to take a 2-1 lead, with RBIs by Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford.
Denard Span had a two-run single and Matt Duffy squeezed home a run in a three-run ninth.
The NL West leaders are a major league-best 18-4 since May 11.
Cueto is 5-0 with a 0.99 ERA his last six starts, working at least six innings and allowing two or fewer runs in each of them. He'd entered 2-4 with a 5.71 ERA in 10 previous starts in St. Louis.
Wainwright had been 5-0 in his previous seven starts.
Stephen Piscotty had an RBI single in the third but the Cardinals left the bases loaded when Randal Grichuk tapped out, with Cueto making a nice play and throw just in time.
Giants: Jeff Samardzija (7-3, 2.84) lost his last outing, allowing four earned runs in five innings against Atlanta.
Cardinals: Michael Wacha (2-6, 4.99) is 1-0 with a 0.47 ERA in three career starts against San Francisco. Wacha has lost his last six decisions.
Giants: OF Hunter Pence will have surgery for an injured right hamstring and is likely out eight weeks. The last two seasons, they're 62-36 with Pence and 57-64 without him.
Cardinals: Jhonny Peralta (thumb) is likely to be activated Tuesday in Cincinnati and will primarily play 3B when he returns given the emergence of rookie SS Aledmys Diaz, with Matt Carpenter playing more 2B. C Brayan Pena (knee) begins a rehab assignment with Double-A Springfield on Tuesday.
The Cardinals didn't consider sending SS Ruben Tejada, waived earlier this week, to the minors because they're so well-stocked at the position. GM John Mozeliak said when Peralta returns ''the reality is it's going to get more sloppy.''