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Sonny Gray allows 1 hit in 7 innings and Cards earn 3-game sweep over Giants with 5-3 victory

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Sonny Gray allowed one hit over seven innings and Alec Burleson drove in two runs and the St. Louis Cardinals completed a three-game sweep with a 5-3 win over the San Francisco Giants on Sunday.

Brendan Donovan and Matt Carpenter also drove in runs for the Cardinals, who have won five of seven.

St. Louis swept the three-game series, which began in Birmingham, Alabama, on Thursday night with the tribute to the Negro Leagues.

Patrick Bailey homered for San Francisco, which has dropped five in a row.

Gray (9-4) retired the first 20 hitters he faced. He struck out eight and did not walk a batter. He threw 80 pitches, 57 for strikes and lowered his ERA to 2.81.

“I knew early on that I felt comfortable with the ball in my hand and the way it was coming out,” Gray said. “I wasn’t trying to do too much, just continue to go down the path of filling up the zone early, attacking guys early.”

Gray threw first-pitch strikes to 16 of 22 batters,

“He was aggressive, it was fun to watch,” St. Louis manager Oliver Marmol said.

San Francisco manager Bob Melvin says Gray was in total command of his wide array of pitches.

“He had it all working today,” Melvin said.

St. Louis catcher Pedro Pages said it was a joy to sit back and watch Gray work.

“Every pitch he was throwing, he was throwing with conviction,” Pages said.

Gray felt his shining moment came after he allowed the homer to Bailey. Gray bounced back to end his stint by striking out Jorge Soler.

“You give up a homer on a quality pitch and then the next batter you come back with a first-pitch fastball strike,” Gray said. “That was probably what I was most proud of.”

Bailey hit a no-doubt drive over the wall in right to break up the no-hit bid with two outs in the seventh.

Closer Ryan Helsley earned his major-league best 26th save by setting the side down in order in the ninth. He has only one blown save this year.

Burleson was a key part of a three-run first inning by driving the third pitch of the game from Logan Webb (6-6) into left field for an RBI single, Masyn Winn led off the inning with a double.

Burleson drove in Pedro Pages with a single in the second inning for a 4-0 lead. Pages hit a one-out single and then stole the first base of his career.

“This is the style of baseball that this city subscribes to,” Marmol said. “This is the style of play that we need to continue. If they gave us an inch, we took every bit of it.”

Wilmer Flores had a run-scoring double for the Giants in the eighth.

Brandon Crawford added a run-scoring double in the eighth for St. Louis, which moved two games over .500 (39-37) for the first time since the final game of the 2022 season.

The Giants finished a disappointing 1-5 road swing that began with a 7-6 win against the Chicago Cubs on June 17.

“A bad road trip,” Melvin said.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cardinals: Infielder Nolan Arenado did not start after leaving Saturday’s game with left forearm discomfort. Arenado took an injection and might be out for at least a couple of more days.

Outfielder Michael Siani did not play because of a rib injury.

Giants: Left-hander Blake Snell (strained left groin) allowed two runs and three hits with three walks and threw 51 pitches in 1 2/3 innings in a start for Triple-A Sacramento. ... Left-hander Robbie Ray (left elbow surgery) allowed one hit in 2 1/3 shutout innings with a walk and two strikeouts and threw 45 pitches in the same game and first baseman LaMonte Wade Jr. (strained left hamstring) went 0 for 1 with three walks and scored two runs as the DH for the River Cats.

UP NEXT

Giants: Host the Chicago Cubs in the first of a three-game set on Monday.

Cardinals: Right-hander Lance Lynn (2-3, 4.08 ERA) will face Atlanta right-hander Spencer Schwellenbach (1-2, 4.98) in the first of a three-game series on Monday in St. Louis.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb

Steve Overbey, The Associated Press