In the 2179th all-time matchup between the Cardinals and the Philadelphia Phillies, the Cards were looking to take the series and get back above .500. Luckily, Jaime Garcia and a strong offensive outing were enough to hit that goal.
Jaime Garcia allowed twice as many hits and recorded less than half the strikeouts of his last day start, and yet it was another gem. Despite not quite living up to his incredible 4/14 game, Jaime pitched a very solid 7 innings of shut-out ball, giving up only 2 hits in the 5th. His command increased dramatically as the game went on - although he threw 21 pitches in the 1st inning, he needed only 39 to get through the next four. Jaime's repertoire was varied and effective: his only two hits came off his two-seamer, but he mixed in every pitch in his arsenal with great effectiveness. Garcia never dropped below 54% strikes in any inning, and overall he threw 75% strikes in the game.
Brandon Moss made solid contributions on both offense and defense. His 462 foot monster HR to right field in the 1st inning was not only the 4th longest in MLB this year, but is one of the longest HRs to RF in Busch that I can remember. He also made a solid grab of a Freddy Galvis pop-up in LF, and (after being switched to 1B when Matt Adams was removed as a precautionary measure for a contused kneee) made an excellent unassisted double play at first, grabbing a liner off the bat of Peter Bourjos and doubling up Tyler Goeddel as he attempted to get back to first in time.
After several innings of hard (but ultimately fruitless) contact, the Cardinals broke out in the 7th inning. Molina led off by drawing a walk, after which he advanced to second on the balk by Jerad Eickhoff. Eickhoff tweaked his ankle a bit on the balk and would be lifted a batter later, but not before giving up a single to Jeremy Hazelbaker. Gyorko and Holliday would both also walk that inning, and the 4 run inning was capped off by a ground-rule double to left field by Stephen Piscotty.
Piscotty had a bit to atone for: he hit into a double play in the first inning that was essentially sloppy base-running by both Piscotty and Matt Carpenter. Carpenter strayed a bit too far from second after his lead-off double, and Piscotty was jogging slowly enough that Galvis was able to turn two. Piscotty also narrowly missed being doubled up in the 3rd, beating out the throw only by virtue of the slightest bobble by Galvis as he fielded the ball.
Trevor Rosenthal came in to pitch the ninth and shake off some dust, having only appeared once since April 24th. The dust was a little evident at first, as it took him 15 pitches to record an out. But once that out was recorded, on an incredible diving catch in foul territory by Stephen Piscotty, Rosenthal settled in and set down the next two batters to close out the game. Trevor's strikezone plot:
Overall, due to Jaime's great control and an early lead on Moss's solo shot, the game never felt terribly tense despite being a a one-run game for the majority of the game. WPA graph bears this out:
Additional notes: Randal Grichuk continues to struggle at the plate, recording both a looking and a swinging strikeout after entering the game in the 5th. Matt Carpenter had a 2/4 day at the plate, but picked an unfortunate time to have his first infield pop-up of the year, which came with the bases loaded in the 7th.
Cardinals take on divisional rivals the Pittsburgh Pirates tomorrow at Busch.