Jaime Garcia turned in a performance of vintage Jaime-ness on Tuesday night at Busch Stadium. With his club's offense seemingly stuck in an inextricable rut, the southpaw took to the mound and turned in a masterful performance over eight innings. The Cardinals offense plated just enough runs to make Garcia and the team a winner.
Garcia set the tone early, inducing two groundouts before striking out all-universe slugger Joey Votto on three pitches, the last of which was a swinging strike via cut-fastball. Garcia had his cutter working well this start. At one point, Cardinals radio broadcaster remarked that Zach Cozart looked like he was trying to hit a butterfly while whiffing on the pitch.
On the evening, Garcia put up the following line: 8 IP, 7 H, 3 SO, 0 BB, 1 R, 1 ER. The southpaw recorded 17 groundouts to just two flyouts. The Reds managed just one extra-base hit on the evening. It was Shin Soo-Choo's RBI double in the fifth.
Garcia gave the Cardinals just what they needed.
An offense that has been in a frustrating funk of late showed barely a pulse against junk-balling Bronson Arroyo on Tuesday. To this point in the season, the offense's saving grace has been its timely hitting with runners in scoring position. Against the Arroyo and Sam LeCure, the Cards did not take a single plate appearance with runners in scoring position. The team rapped seven hits and one walk, but did not have a runner reach second or third base except for one play: Matt Holliday's game-winning two-run homer in the bottom of the sixth.
Edward Mujica came in to close out the ninth. The righthander unleashed his Nintendo split-change to great effect. After three straight fastballs led to a 2-1 count against Votto, Mujica tossed five straight split-changes and K'd the one-time National League MVP. Four out of the five pitches to Brandon Phillips were split-changes; the result was another strikeout. Jay Bruce dug in and Mujica fired only split-changes to lefthander. After six pitches, Mujica had notched his third strikeout and fifth save.
Tuesday night's victory pushed the Cardinals to 15-11 on the season.
The National League Central rivals face off tomorrow at 12:45 p.m. local time in the rubber match of this three-game series. Lance Lynn starts for El Birdos and Homer Bailey gets the nod for the Redlegs.