Fresh off a dominant three-game sweep of the Rockies, the Giants' own momentum was stunted by an 8-2 Cardinals win Monday to begin the four-game set. The Cardinals have now won 12 of the last 13 games at home and are in the midst of a 19-game stretch where 16 of them will be at Busch Stadium.
"It's great to play at home with the atmosphere here," manager Mike Matheny said. "This is a team that enjoys playing at home. The atmosphere, the crowd is second to none, so that plays into our hands. It was just an oddity early on that we weren't playing well at home."
The Giants had uncharacteristically struggled through a 10-game home stretch by going 3-7 before sweeping the Rockies for San Francisco's first road sweep of the season.
Barry Zito is tasked with getting the Giants back on track as he takes the mound Tuesday. The veteran left-hander struggled with his command as he gave up seven runs in 4 1/3 innings against the Mets his last time out and has posted a 7.56 ERA in his last three outings.
"My timing was off, so my command was erratic today," Zito said after his last start. "At times it was there, but at times the ball was up in the zone, and I wasn't commanding my off-speed [pitches] like I usually do."
The Cardinals trot out Lance Lynn, who has been solid since the All-Star break outside of one ineffective start. Excluding a July 27 outing in which he gave up six runs in five innings, the 25-year-old right-hander has given up three runs in 25 innings over four starts (1.08 ERA).
Winners of 13 of their last 17, the Cardinals have played themselves into the National League Wild Card race as they look to re-create the second-half magic from last season that culminated with a World Series championship. The Cardinals are three games behind one of the two Wild Card spots, but through 109 games, they have a better record this season than they did at this point last year.
"Guys are playing with urgency now," Matheny said. "That's where we need to be. All the components need to be there for us to have a chance. We control our destiny and our future by how we play the game. The rest of that stuff will work itself out."
Giants: Bullpen adds lefty Mijares
The Giants claimed reliever Jose Mijares off waivers from the Royals on Monday, adding the additional bullpen arm the team sought before last week's Trade Deadline.
Manager Bruce Bochy said Mijares could be with the team as early as Tuesday's game and said his addition to the bullpen will allow him to save Jeremy Affeldt for save situations to aid embattled closer Santiago Casilla.
"Casilla, trying to get him some needed rest and that's of course caused us to change our minds and really do it by committee," Bochy said. "I like the way Jeremy is throwing the ball. With that said, I do get a look at how much I use him."
Cardinals: Boggs enjoying NL-best shutout streak
Setup man Mitchell Boggs is currently riding a nearly two-month scoreless streak, and his run of 20 1/3 shutout innings is the longest active streak in the National League.
Boggs hasn't given up a run since June 12 and has made 23 appearances in that period.
"I think what it means to me is that I've been doing a good job of showing up and being consistent and executing pitches," Boggs said. "I'm going to continue to do that, whether I have a runless-whatever streak in a row or I give up runs in three games. I'm going to show up the next day and be prepared for the night. That's been my focus and it's worked for me."
Current Cardinals have batted .289 lifetime against Zito, with Rafael Furcal entering the game with a .341 career average against him in 41 at-bats.
Buster Posey takes his torrid hitting into Tuesday's game, leading the Majors with a .458 average and 27 RBIs since the All-Star break. He went 2-for-4 with a solo home run in Monday's game.