Giants rally, hand slumping Cards 4th straight loss

Phillies 4, Nationals 2

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Rich Aurilia spent his first nine big-league seasons as a fan favorite in San Francisco. Now, in his second stint with the Giants after three years away, he is as beloved as ever.

Aurilia provided the key hit for the second time in 15½ hours. His two-run, sixth-inning double broke a tie and helped Noah Lowry to his first win of the season, a 6-2 victory over the struggling St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday.

"It makes me feel good in the sense that I had success here in the past," said Aurilia, who was thrilled it worked out for him to return this season. "I'm not getting any younger but I feel I can still play and contribute to a winning team."

Aurilia singled in the winning run in the bottom of the 12th in a 6-5 win Wednesday night and then doubled to right to spoil what had been a good effort by St. Louis starter Kip Wells.

Randy Winn drove in two runs, including a sacrifice fly in San Francisco's three-run sixth, which also featured Dave Roberts' one-out infield single followed by a stolen base.

Wells appeared to have single-handedly worked the reigning World Series champions out of a jam. He homered, singled and scored two runs, but the Cardinals couldn't hold a 2-0 lead and lost their fourth straight and fifth in six games.

"I was in hot water and they did a good job of hitting hittable pitches," Wells said. "You have to make better pitches when runs are at a premium."

The Cardinals' 6-9 start is the worst by a reigning World Series championship team since the 1998 Florida Marlins opened 1-11.

"If you pay attention to our club, you know what our concerns are," manager Tony La Russa said. "It's not necessary to spell it out. We got beat, we're not doing enough and we're going to fix it."

Lowry (1-2) allowed two runs -- one earned -- and four hits in seven sharp innings. The lefty struck out four, walked two and surrendered his first home run of the season.

Wells (1-3) sent the first pitch from Lowry just over the left-field fence leading off the fifth. It was the pitcher's fourth career home run, first with the Cardinals and first since Aug. 19, 2005, for the Pirates at Philadelphia.

The right-hander, who pitched seven shutout innings against the Giants on July 28, allowed leadoff singles in the first and second innings but still got a double play and a caught stealing and faced the minimum through four.

The Cardinals took a 1-0 lead when Wells scored on David Eckstein's sacrifice in the third, which first baseman Ryan Klesko misplayed for an error.

After Ray Durham reached on first baseman Albert Pujols' fielding error at first to start the fifth, Klesko tripled to right-center and just made it safely. An animated third-base coach Tim Flannery, who had worked with Klesko in San Diego before both came north this season, belly-flopped signaling to Klesko to speed up and slide in a hilarious moment.

"It wasn't a slide, I think it was a fall," Klesko said of how he made it in safely. "Flann got me down. I'm glad I have the skin on my chin. He went down, I went down, everybody went down. Flann slides, you slide. I tried to grab the bag and not slide into him. We were almost hugging."

Such theatrics -- "He's on a stage out there," manager Bruce Bochy said -- are what Flannery loves about his job, especially after being out of the game the past two years and working in the Padres broadcast booth.

"I love it," Flannery said. "He has a clothing line called 'Mindless Reaction,' and that's how I would describe Klesko."

Winn drove in Klesko moments later, reaching when second baseman Aaron Miles' throw to Pujols was in the dirt for another error by the infield.

Klesko and Barry Bonds, who got to rest a day after hitting home run No. 738, could be seen laughing in the dugout after Klesko scored the tying run. Bonds hugged his teammate as they chatted.

Klesko fell a homer shy of hitting for the cycle, adding an RBI double in the eighth to make it 6-2.

Lowry had been the victim of low run support, as the Giants scored only once in the two previous games he started -- losses to the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres. But they managed enough for him this time in his first victory in three career starts against the Cardinals.

"I look at what I can do and try to control what I can control," Lowry said. "Everything feels good and I was able to throw all my pitches for strikes."

Brad Hennessey got the final five outs for his first save.

Game notes
Aurilia has a 12-game hitting streak. ... St. Louis third baseman Scott Rolen sat for the second straight game recovering from food poisoning. ... Klesko tripled for the first time since July 5, 2005, while with San Diego. He had two extra-base hits in a game for the first time since June 18, 2005. ... Roberts stole his fifth base of 2007 in the sixth. ... Along with Bonds, catcher Bengie Molina and third baseman Pedro Feliz also had the day off.