By Janie McCauley
The Associated Press
SAN FRANCISCO — Carlos Beltran is a realist. The St. Louis Cardinals’ season has just begun, so there’s not a lot that can be told from one lousy game — like Friday — or one in which the offense clicks up and down the order as it did a day later.
Yet he is pretty sure the latter provides a better glimpse of what this team can be.
Beltran hit a go-ahead two-run single in the fifth against his former team and Shelby Miller beat the reigning World Series champion San Francisco Giants in his second career start, spoiling Buster Posey’s MVP party at AT&T Park with a 6-3 win on Saturday.
“I feel good, man,” Beltran said. “This is a good team, a good lineup. We have guys from top to bottom who can do the job. It’s fun. As a player, you just want to go out there and be part of it.”
Pete Kozma had three hits, drove in a run and scored for St. Louis from the No. 8 spot in the order, Matt Holliday singled in a run and Matt Carpenter added an RBI single in the ninth.
Beltran also hit an RBI single in the first against Ryan Vogelsong (0-1) in a matchup of the teams that won the past three World Series — and a rematch of last fall’s NL championship series won in seven games by the Giants.
Hunter Pence hit a solo homer in the second and Pablo Sandoval homered and hit an RBI single. He also played more strong defense for San Francisco on a day Vogelsong (0-1) struggled to consistently command the strike zone.
Posey received his NL MVP plaque in another highlight-filled pregame ceremony, and the Giants will have yet another day of celebrating before Sunday’s game with the World Series ring presentation.
Posey also was honored for his batting title and Silver Slugger award. Kevin Mitchell, the 1989 NL MVP, and 2000 MVP Jeff Kent took part, along with former MVP winners and Hall of Famers Willie Mays and Willie McCovey.
“It was definitely a different pregame for me than normal but it was nice to be able to celebrate that with the fans,” Posey said.
St. Louis’ pitchers faced baserunners every inning but limited the damage.
Miller (1-0) walked Pence with one out in the sixth, then Randy Choate relieved and walked Brandon Belt on four pitches before pinch-hitter Joaquin Arias lined the first pitch he saw into a double play to first baseman Allen Craig.
Miller, the Cardinals’ top pitching prospect, allowed four hits and two runs in 5 1-3 innings. He struck out four and walked four in the first road start of his career.
He went 2-0 with a 3.94 ERA in three spring training starts and five overall appearances, and faced San Francisco twice in relief during last fall’s NLCS.
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