ST. LOUIS -

Watching his teammates construct an eighth-inning rally Thursday night against the frontline men in St. Louis' bullpen, San Francisco starting pitcher Ryan Vogelsong was grateful.

"They picked me up big-time," he said. "It's what good teams do. They pick each other up."

First baseman Michael Morse's two-out, two-run double snapped a 4-4 tie and capped a three-run inning as the Giants upped their MLB-best record to 35-19 with a 6-5 win at Busch Stadium.

Morse, who belted a 442-foot homer to start his team's scoring in the second, rifled an 0-1 fastball off closer Trevor Rosenthal to center field. The ball skipped past a diving Peter Bourjos as center fielder Angel Pagan and third baseman Pablo Sandoval scored.

It capped another big game for Morse, who's been one of MLB's top free-agent pickups. Once a skinny minor league shortstop with a good glove but an inconsistent bat, Morse is hitting a robust .290 with 11 homers and 37 RBIs, putting him on a pace for 111 RBIs at the season's one-third point.

"Great addition," manager Bruce Bochy said of Morse. "He's been a run-producing power bat who's stretched out our lineup. That was a big hit he got off one of the more dominant closers in the game."

Earlier in the eighth, San Francisco evened the game when Bourjos' strong throw home after Pagan's one-out single off Carlos Martinez got past three fielders and went to the backstop for an error, enabling left fielder Gregor Blanco to score.

Martinez (0-3) failed to back up the plate, stopping just in front of it after third-base coach Tim Flannery held Blanco.

"He was in the wrong spot," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of Martinez. "Everyone knows that you have to back up the catcher. He saw the runner being held so he figured he'd stop. It wasn't the right play."

St. Louis (29-25) touched closer Sergio Romo for a run in the ninth on a two-out RBI single by third baseman Matt Carpenter, but pinch-hitter Shane Robinson popped out to third with runners at the corners as Romo notched his 17th save.

Javier Lopez (1-0) obtained the last two outs of the seventh for the win. Set-up man Jean Machi pitched a perfect eighth, his 19th consecutive scoreless appearance.

The Cardinals' eighth-inning meltdown denied starter Jaime Garcia a second straight win. The left-hander worked seven strong innings, allowing only five hits and three runs while walking none and fanning seven.

Garcia left with a 4-3 lead, courtesy of a leadoff homer by first baseman Allen Craig in the sixth. Craig also touched Vogelsong for a two-out, ground-rule double in the first that plated Carpenter, whose leadoff single stretched his hitting streak to 11 games.

Over 6 1/3 innings, Vogelsong gave up seven hits and four runs while walking three and whiffing five.

"I felt like I had real good stuff, but the few mistakes I made, they took advantage," he said. "It was kind of a 50-50 night."

Blanco went 3-for-3 with an RBI after entering the game hitting .188. Sandoval cracked a solo homer in the sixth, making him the first Giant with an RBI in nine straight games since Barry Bonds did it from Sept. 4 to Sept. 13, 2000.

While San Francisco savored a comeback win to start a seven-game road trip, St. Louis lamented one that clearly got away.

"Obviously, it's not the way we designed it," Matheny said. "We got a good start from Jaime and got him through seven, but we just couldn't get it done."

NOTES: San Francisco C Buster Posey (lower back) did not start Thursday night's game against the Cardinals but was available to pinch hit. That has been a recurring issue for Posey, although he has played in 49 of the team's first 53 games. ... St. Louis 1B Matt Adams (left calf) did not start for the second straight game after feeling tightness on Tuesday night. Adams was able to pinch hit on Wednesday night in the ninth inning and struck out. ... The Giants still have not officially announced their starting pitcher for Saturday's game, although RHP Matt Cain (hamstring) made it through a bullpen session on Wednesday with no problems.