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SF@STL: Torres launches a grand slam to right

ST. LOUIS -- Memorial Day was a day of leisure for many Americans, including the Giants. At least by their standards.

They matched their run total from their previous four games by Monday's fourth inning. That helped becalm Madison Bumgarner, who pitched as if he were reclining in a hammock drinking lemonade. Brian Wilson warmed up in the ninth inning, but that was merely a precautionary measure. The length of the game seemed to exceed its official two-hour, 51-minute duration, mainly because it featured no compellling sequences that distracted witnesses from the time of day.

"We don't have many of those," manager Bruce Bochy said after the Giants' 7-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals. "It's nice not to have every pitch matter."

That happened because they obliterated pitches that did matter early in the afternoon. San Francisco homered twice in a game for only the second time since May 4 while winning by more than three runs for the first time since an 8-1 triumph at Colorado on April 18. Cody Ross went deep in the second inning, connecting on a 438-foot drive that was the sixth longest in Busch Stadium history, and Andres Torres belted his first career grand slam in the fourth to accent a five-run outburst. In between, Bumgarner scored in the third inning after launching a leadoff ground-rule double that short-hopped the left-center-field wall.

The Giants' rare easy win might have seemed like a respite from their troubles, if you believe that they're still reeling over Buster Posey's absence. But Ross insisted that he and his teammates remain as confident as ever, though they had lost five of six games before Monday.

"All of us believe in ourselves and each other and we all know what we're capable of, even though we're missing a couple of key parts of our team and our lineup," said Ross, whose homer broke a personal 0-for-14 skid. "We've all seen different guys in the lineup, who are here now, come through and get huge hits. We saw Torres do it all year last year and [Aubrey] Huff. The list goes on, up and down the lineup."

The Giants could have been expected to require a long list against the Cardinals, the National League Central leaders who had won 10 of their previous 13 games overall and seven of their last eight at home. A sellout crowd -- only the second of the season at Busch Stadium -- gathered in anticipation of more feats from their favorites.

But the Giants stole the show, and Bumgarner (2-6) was the primary thief.

The left-hander maintained control for seven innings while recording his seventh consecutive quality start. Bumgarner's ERA in that stretch is a stellar 2.12. Yet he felt far from satisfied.

"I don't feel I've gotten into a good rhythm yet," he said.

Allen Craig, whose disputed third-inning double helped St. Louis notch its only pair of runs off Bumgarner, was suitably impressed.

"He's got good stuff," Craig said. "He was working the heater, slider and curveball. He didn't seem to leave too many pitches over the plate. He was tough. In my third at-bat I missed a fastball and he just put me away with the curveball."

Bumgarner found a comfort zone in one respect. The 90-degree gametime temperature was very much to his liking.

"This feels like home," the North Carolinian said. "This is what I grew up playing in. I like this weather. It feels good to go out there and sweat a little bit. I knew what to expect."

Everybody should have known what to expect after Cardinals starter Kyle McClellan (6-2) walked Bumgarner to load the bases with one out in the fourth and a run in on Brandon Crawford's RBI single. Such mistakes often prompt a pitcher's undoing. Torres seized upon McClellan's lapse by planting an 0-1 fastball in the right-field seats.

"I was looking for a changeup. I just reacted," said Torres, who believed that he hadn't hit a grand slam since 2004 or 2005 while playing winter ball in Puerto Rico.

The Giants' big fourth matched their highest-scoring inning of the season, a first-inning binge in the aforementioned April 18 rout at Colorado. It also finished McClellan, who clearly wasn't himself.

"Walking the pitcher there killed me," McClellan said. "If I get him out, it changes everything. I tried to come in on [Torres] there and tried to get a ground ball, made a mistake and he hits it out. So just all in all not a good game."

"We knew he's been throwing well and has had a really good year," Ross said. "From the get-go, we could tell that he didn't have the command that he's probably used to. We just were trying to wait him out and got a couple of runs off him early. ... Guys like that can easily find it and turn it around. Fortunately for us, he couldn't do it." Comments