SAN FRANCISCO -- In the middle of their frantic weekend of celebration, the Giants finally hit a speed bump.
Ryan Vogelsong was roughed up in a 6-3 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday that snapped the Giants' three-game winning streak. The defeat also quieted a crowd that had been raucous from the beginning of Friday's banner festivities to the end of Saturday's pregame ceremony honoring Buster Posey's selection as National League MVP.
Vogelsong gave up five earned runs but was happy with his stuff, pointing out that the Cardinals didn't have an extra-base hit and three of the nine hits against him were infield singles.
"I didn't think the pitches were bad -- the results were bad," Vogelsong said. "It kind of stinks that it happened this way, but that's the game."
As Vogelsong showed, Saturday was the perfect time for the Giants to step back for a little perspective. Players will receive their World Series rings Sunday, capping an applause-filled weekend at AT&T Park.
The ceremony Saturday included Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Kevin Mitchell and Jeff Kent, all former National League MVPs with the Giants. (Barry Bonds was invited and chose not to attend.) Posey, who had his parents, grandparents, wife and twin children on hand, called the experience surreal and humbling, and he thanked everyone from his childhood coaches to the fans.
In San Francisco, they're thankful that Posey will be around for the rest of the decade.
"I don't know what the perfect package is in terms of a player," manager Bruce Bochy said during the ceremony. "But I do know that Buster is as close as I've ever seen."
The festivities had a sellout crowd rocking, but the Cardinals got off to a quick start and ended a stunning streak by the starting staff. When Matt Carpenter scored on a single in the first inning, it ended a streak of 26 consecutive innings by Giants starters without giving up an earned run.
The Giants quickly grabbed the lead on Hunter Pence's second-inning homer and Pablo Sandoval's RBI single in the third inning, and Vogelsong settled down after the shaky start, retiring 10 of 11 before a Cardinals rally in the fifth inning. Matt Holliday lined a two-out RBI single to left to tie the game, and Carlos Beltran later had a two-run single. Beltran, a former Giant, finished with three RBIs.
The biggest play in the inning might have been a grounder by Allen Craig that bounced off a diving Sandoval's glove at third base, loading the bases for Beltran. Bochy said he thought shortstop Brandon Crawford was in good position to make the play, but he didn't blame Sandoval.
"It's a tough read for an infielder," Bochy said. "They have to react. It's a fine line in this game."
That was proved again in the sixth inning, when the Giants threatened and knocked hard-throwing Cardinals starter Shelby Miller from the game. After walks to Pence and Brandon Belt put two runners on with one out, the Cardinals brought in left-handed specialist Randy Choate to face Gregor Blanco. Bochy countered with right-handed hitter Joaquin Arias, who lined the first pitch the opposite way but too close to Craig. After making a diving catch, Craig stepped on first to double up Belt and end the inning.
"That's probably a triple with two runs in," Bochy said.
Sandoval provided a bit of late thunder with a solo shot in the eighth, but for the most part the Giants went down quietly.
Former closer Brian Wilson has not responded to the invite, according to a team official. Wilson has been rehabbing in Los Angeles in an attempt to get back to full strength after his second Tommy John surgery.
Cardinals (Adam Wainwright 0-1) at Giants (Matt Cain 0-0), 1.05 p.m. CSNBA
Willie Mays' MVP seasons
1954: After returning from military service, Mays batted .345 with 41 home runs.
1965: Batted .317 with 52 home runs and played Gold Glove defense in center.
Buster Posey's MVP season
2012: After missing most of the 2011 season because of injury, batted .336 with 24 home runs to lead Giants to second World Series title in three years. Posey is still just 26 years old.