ST. LOUIS (AP) — Johnny Cueto worked around a season-worst five walks to post his ninth win, tying for the major league lead, as the San Francisco Giants beat the St. Louis Cardinals 5-1 on Friday night.
Cueto (9-1) allowed a run on four hits in six innings with one strikeout. He hadn’t walked more than two in any of his first 11 starts for his new team.
Cueto is among four nine-game winners, joining Stephen Strasburg, Jake Arrieta and Chris Sale. Six of Cueto’s victories have come on the road.
Five Giants relievers combined to give up just one hit.
Adam Wainwright (5-4) allowed two runs in seven innings. The Cardinals were held to one run for the second straight game.
The Giants bunched three straight two-strike hits in the fourth to take a 2-1 lead, with RBIs by Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford.
Denard Span had a two-run single and Matt Duffy squeezed home a run in a three-run ninth, capitalizing on three straight walks to open the inning by Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal.
The NL West leaders are a major league-best 18-4 since May 11.
Cueto is 5-0 with a 0.99 ERA his last six starts, working at least six innings and allowing two or fewer runs in each of them. He’d entered 2-4 with a 5.71 ERA in 10 previous starts in St. Louis.
Wainwright had been 5-0 in his previous seven starts.
Stephen Piscotty had an RBI single in the third but the Cardinals left the bases loaded when Randal Grichuk tapped out, with Cueto making a nice play and throw just in time.
Giants: Jeff Samardzija (7-3, 2.84) lost his last outing, allowing four earned runs in five innings against Atlanta.
Cardinals: Michael Wacha (2-6, 4.99) is 1-0 with a 0.47 ERA in three career starts against San Francisco. Wacha has lost his last six decisions.
Giants: OF Hunter Pence will undergo surgery for a right hamstring and is likely out eight weeks. The last two seasons, they’re 62-36 with Pence and 57-64 without him.
Cardinals: Jhonny Peralta (thumb) is likely to be activated Tuesday in Cincinnati and will primarily play 3B when he returns given the emergence of rookie SS Aledmys Diaz, with Matt Carpenter playing more 2B. C Brayan Pena (knee) begins a rehab assignment with Double-A Springfield on Tuesday.
The Cardinals didn’t consider sending SS Ruben Tejada, waived earlier this week, to the minors because they’re so well-stocked at the position. GM John Mozeliak said when Peralta returns “the reality is it’s going to get more sloppy.”