Apr 23, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Jaime Garcia throws a pitch during the first inning against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE
Jaime Garcia was excellent tonight. Unfortunately the record books won't show it. The southpaw threw seven and two-thirds innings, allowing just six hits, issuing only one walk, and surrendering a single run. Garcia gave way to Mitchell Boggs in the eighth with a runner on first. A well-called pitchout resulted in a called "ball" and a stolen base when Tyler Greene couldn't hold onto the ball when making the tag for a would-be out. Then Boggs issued his first walk on the season, albeit pitchout-aided. The eighth ended on a groundout. It seemed the drama was over at Wrigley, but it hadn't yet begun.
Jason Motte took the ball with the Cards leading 2-1 in the ninth inning. Motte struck out $18-million man Alfonso Soriano easily enough, but rookie Bryan LaHair was another story. The left-hander saw 12 pitches, none below 95 MPH. He fouled off six consecutive pitches before drawing a walk. Geovany Soto followed with a walk of his own on four questionable called "balls." A Steven Clevenger (who? Steven Clevenger) grounder pushed the tying run to third and winning run to second for former Cardinal Joe Mather. Joey Bombs worked a 2-2 count before stroking a single to center that ended the game in a 3-2 Cubs' victory.
The two clubs square off tomorrow night at 7:05 CDT.