(The Sports Xchange) - The ball came off pinch-hitter Buster Posey’s bat with an arc that suggested a go-ahead, two-out, two-run homer in the top of the ninth inning.
In the St. Louis Cardinals’ dugout, pitching coach Derek Lilliquist turned to manager Mike Matheny, unworried as center fielder Peter Bourjos sped to the wall.
“Derek said, ‘That’s not a problem.’ So I was convinced it was staying in the ballpark,” Matheny said before laughing.
Posey’s fly ball made it to the wall, but Bourjos ran it down and St. Louis escaped with a 2-1 win over the San Francisco Giants at Busch Stadium.
The Cardinals (76-42) tied a season high by going 34 games over .500 with the victory while increasing their National League Central lead over Pittsburgh to six games.
The winning run was scored in unusual fashion as first baseman Mark Reynolds reached safely on a fielder’s choice in the eighth when shortstop Brandon Crawford threw wide of first while attempting to complete a double play.
Crawford could have flipped the ball to second baseman Kelby Tomlinson at the bag, but he hurried to second himself, tagged the bag and spun away from it.
The inaccurate throw enabled right fielder Stephen Piscotty to score the tie-breaking run from third base.
“He’s the best in the game, I think,” San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said of Crawford.
“The throw just got away from him, pretty simple. The hitter hit it at the right guy. That’s who we want it hit to. I’ll take that every time.”
Reliever Kevin Siegrist (4-0) picked up the win, while Trevor Rosenthal survived the scare from Posey to notch his 37th save in 39 opportunities.
St. Louis took a 1-0 lead in the fourth when catcher Yadier Molina yanked a 403-foot homer into the third deck in left field before the Giants equalized in the sixth when Crawford laced a two-out RBI double off starter Michael Wacha.
Wacha failed to become the first 15-game winner in the majors despite a good outing. He worked seven innings, allowing six hits and a run with one walk and six strikeouts.
San Francisco starter Chris Heston battled control problems in 4-2/3 innings, allowing five walks and four hits with a run and four strikeouts.
Compiled by Greg Stutchbury