Series: Game 3 of 4

St. Louis leads 2-1 (as of 7/24)

Game 1: Monday, July 22
St. Louis 5Final
San Francisco 3
Game 2: Tuesday, July 23
St. Louis 4Final
San Francisco 0
Game 3: Wednesday, July 24
St. Louis 4Final
San Francisco 6
Game 4: Thursday, July 25
St. Louis 4Final
San Francisco 3

Cardinals 4

(55-43, 24-25 away)

Giants 6

(57-44, 29-20 home)

    7:05 PM ET, July 24, 2002

    AT&T Park, San Francisco, California 

    123456789 R H E
    STL 000000022 4 - -
    SF 00011220 - 6 - -

    W: K. Rueter (8-6)

    L: A. Benes (0-3)

    S: R. Nen (27)

    Giants move back into second in NL West

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Rich Aurilia and Kirk Rueter both snapped out of slumps and gave San Francisco a lift in the process.

    Rich Aurilia

    The Giants' Rich Aurilia, right, high-fives a bat boy after his first homer since July 5.

    Aurilia homered and Rueter carried a shutout into the eighth inning as the Giants defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 6-4 Wednesday.

    The Giants moved back into second place in the NL West, a half-game ahead of Los Angeles. The Central-leading Cardinals had their three-game winning streak stopped.

    Rueter (8-6) allowed two runs -- neither earned -- on six hits over 7 1/3 innings. He walked none and won for the first time since June 4, nine starts ago.

    "I never really got discouraged because I was keeping the team in the game and we won a lot of my no decisions,'' Rueter said. "I've been on the other side where I've pitched badly and won.''

    Rueter improved to 9-3 in 21 outings against the Cardinals. He hasn't lost to St. Louis since July 22, 1998, at Candlestick Park.

    "I felt like I did before,'' he said. "I was just trying to get groundballs.''

    Aurilia had four hits in 23 previous at bats against Benes before going 2-for-2 with a walk against the right-hander.

    "I got into some bad habits and it took me a long time to get out of it,'' Aurilia said. "I'm feeling better at the plate and hitting the ball harder.''

    Robb Nen relieved with no outs and two on base in the ninth and got his 27th save. Nen gave up a two-run single to Mike Matheny.

    Andy Benes (0-3) went a season-high 4 2/3 innings, allowing two runs -- one earned -- on four hits. He walked two and struck out five.

    Benes, making his second start since coming off the disabled list on July 16, hasn't won as a starter since June 13, 2001, against the Chicago White Sox.

    "I thought he looked sharp,'' Matheny said. "We'll take that almost every time. I know he's not happy and knows he can do better and I still believe he will.''

    Benes breezed through the first three innings, striking out five. Only Aurilia, who homered on a 1-0 pitch to lead off the fourth, hit the ball hard against Benes.

    "I thought he did all right, but I think he's capable of more,'' Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa said.

    Rueter, meanwhile, retired 14 in a row and 17 of 18 at one point. He allowed only leadoff hitter Fernando Vina to advance past second base through the first seven innings.

    "The first inning was big for me,'' Rueter said. "I botched a play and put an extra runner on base, but then got a double play. I relaxed after that.''

    Aurilia's homer was his eighth of the year, and his first since July 5 against Arizona's Curt Schilling.

    "A good sign for me is I hit a mistake pitch,'' Aurilia said. "It was middle of the plate and up in the zone. Hopefully it gets better from here.''

    The Giants added an unearned run in the fifth. Yorvit Torrealba singled, was sacrificed to second by Rueter and scored on Vina's error at second base.

    Tom Goodwin and Shawon Dunston each delivered a two-out, bases-loaded singles against St. Louis reliever Luther Hackman in the sixth to give the Giants a 4-0 lead.

    The Giants added two more runs against Mike Matthews in the seventh on a bases-loaded walk to Torrealba and Rueter's sacrifice fly.

    The Cardinals scored a pair of unearned runs in the eighth, with Vina and Jim Edmonds hitting RBI groundouts. The runs were set up by second baseman Jeff Kent's error.

    Game notes

    Cardinals 1B Tino Martinez sat out the game with a sore back, and will likely miss Thursday's game as well according to manager Tony La Russa. ... Giants OF Barry Bonds, who celebrated his 38th birthday, and Reggie Sanders each missed their second straight game with hamstring strains. ... Giants C Benito Santiago was a late scratch with a stye on his left eye. ... Benes has allowed at least one home run in five of his six appearances this season. ... Cardinals SS Edgar Renteria had two hits and needs three for 1,000. ... Rueter has thrown one career shutout -- a 1-0 victory over the Giants on Aug. 27, 1995, as a member of the Montreal Expos. That was 208 starts ago.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press