Tonight Jaime Garcia (1.69 ERA, 2.98 FIP, 2.93 xFIP) returned from
his own personal purgatory the disabled list to pitch in the St. Louis summer heat. Mike Leake (3.78 ERA, 3.94 FIP, 3.61 xFIP) was also there.
Jim Hayes interviewed Cardinals' GM John Mozeliak during the game, who indicated that Garcia would likely be limited to 85 pitches or so tonight. He still isn't quite stretched out for a full 100 pitch load.
Garcia blanked the Reds through the first 5 innings and looked every bit like vintage HOTME HOTCIA. Other than allowing a walk to Joey Votto in the first and a single to Joey Votto in the 4th (erased via double play), Jaime set down the Reds batsmen in order.
Similarly, Leake was carving through the Cardinals line-up, not allowing a hit until a Stephen Piscotty single in the 5th.
The difference was, while Jaime was mostly only allowing weak contact or generating strikeouts, the Cardinals were hitting balls hard that were finding gloves.
Meanwhile, Carlos Martinez defended his water cup fort against that malcontent Michael Wacha.
Don't mess with El Gallo's cup pyramid. pic.twitter.com/yQIWA8nX1f— Drew Silva (@drewsilv) July 29, 2015
Possibly tiring, it came undone for Jaime in the top of the 6th. Mike Leake led off with a single, and Billy Hamilton sac bunted him over to second. Brandon Phillips drew a walk. Then Joey Votto crushed a home run to straightaway CF on a knee-high 90 mph fastball in the middle of the plate. That gave the Reds a 3-0 that the Cardinals would not overcome.
Garcia's line: 6 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 80 pitches.
Carlos Villanueva chipped in 2 shutout innings to keep things from getting worse.
The Reds added another tally in the 9th when Randy Choate gave up a lead-off double to that Votto guy who had a big night. Miguel Socolovich was able to get Todd Frazier to ground to third, which Mark Reynolds made a pretty nice play on. But Jay Bruce singled to right to drive home Votto and make it 4-0. And that would be the final as Aroldis Chapman locked down the bottom of the 9th.
Tomorrow night, leathery cynic John Lackey (2.88 ERA, 3.45 FIP, 3.98 xFIP) and Anthony DeSclafani (3.98 ERA, 3.94 FIP, 4.30 xFIP) pitch in the rubber game. Festivities start at 7:15pm Central.