ST. LOUIS (AP) — Aubrey Huff hit three home runs and matched his career best with six RBIs and the San Francisco Giants hammered a pair of rookie pitchers making their major league debuts in a 12-7 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday night.
Huff, who entered batting .219, hit two-run homers in the fourth and ninth and a solo shot in the seventh for his first three-homer game. He also had an RBI single in the sixth. Huff raised his average 14 points while leading the surge for the Giants, who set a season high for runs.
Huff has four homers and seven RBIs the last two games after totaling four RBIs the previous 16 games.
Freddy Sanchez added a homer and four RBIs for San Francisco.
Colby Rasmus hit his second career grand slam and had a career-best six RBIs to help make it a contest for the Cardinals, who dropped three of four at home to the Giants for the first time since June 30-July 3, 2003. Albert Pujols had two hits, a steal and scored twice.
The NL Central-leading Cardinals had been 13-1-1 in their previous 15 series since dropping two of three at San Francisco from April 8-10, leaving town with a 3-6 record.
Triple-A callup Lance Lynn (0-1) needed 56 pitches to get through five innings working on three days' rest, but retired only one of four hitters to start the Giants' three-run sixth. Double-A reinforcement Mikail Cleto hit 98 mph several times on the stadium radar in the seventh but walked the first two hitters and surrendered back-to-back homers to Sanchez and Huff in a five-run inning that made it 10-3.
Manager Tony La Russa slotted Lynn ahead of Jaime Garcia in the rotation, giving the left-hander an extra day to get over a disastrous outing in which he surrendered 12 runs in 3 1-3 innings in Colorado. The move also set up Garcia, Kyle Lohse and Chris Carpenter to face the Cubs in a weekend series starting Friday, but left the Cardinals short in the Giants finale.
La Russa was out to the mound for a pep talk with Cleto before Huff finished rounding the bases on his seventh homer of the season.
Jonathan Sanchez (4-3) allowed three runs in 5 1-3 innings, surviving a season-high six walks. Freddy Sanchez had a season high for RBIs with a three-run homer in the seventh and a run-scoring groundout in the sixth.
Rasmus' two-run triple put the Cardinals ahead 3-0 in the third and his grand slam came in the seventh against Guillermo Mota, who has allowed at least one run in his last five appearances with a total of eight runs allowed. Hitters are 11 for 23 against him during that stretch.
NOTES: Ryan Theriot singled in the second and has a career-best 16-game hitting streak, the longest current run in the majors. ... Giants manager Bruce Bochy doesn't think injured 2B Mark DeRosa (wrist) is close to returning, adding, "He says he doesn't feel anything, which shocks me." ... Huff has 13 career multihomer games.