Cardinals Major League Notebook: 05/07/11

Jaime Garcia flirted with perfection as the Cardinals opened the Brewers series with a Friday win.

INSIDE PITCH

 

So now the Cardinals have three pitchers with four wins -- and none of them is named Chris Carpenter, the staff ace who has none.

Left-hander Jaime Garcia (4-0) joined the group (right-handers Kyle McClellan and Kyle Lohse are the others) Friday night by beating Milwaukee, 6-0, but he almost joined another much more exclusive group. There hadn't been a no-hitter pitched in any of the three Busch Stadium venues since 1983 when Bob Forsch tossed the second of his no-hitters against Montreal.

The Cardinals never had been involved in a perfect game but Garcia had that, too, until he walked third baseman Casey McGehee on four pitches with one out in the eighth inning.

Never having pitched from the stretch in the game, Garcia then allowed a first-pitch single to shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt. At this point, first baseman Albert Pujols, who drove in three of the six runs the Cardinals scored, went to the mount to calm Garcia, who then threw a double-play ball to right fielder Corey Hart.

The other Brewers' hit was two-out double by second baseman Rickie Weeks in the ninth but Garcia then nailed down his second shutout of the season and third of his two-season career by getting center fielder Carlos Gomez on a popup. Garcia fanned eight and walked one in throwing 102 pitches.

It is a little difficult for a pitcher to ignore the circumstances, no matter what he does.

Garcia admitted as much an on-field radio interview. "I was trying hard not to think about it... but I was thinking about (a no-hitter)." He said nobody had sat next to him in the dugout during the game "and that was a good thing."

As often happens in these matters, Garcia said his stuff in the bullpen did not translate to his mound performance, even though catcher Yadier Molina thought that it did.

"It was kind of crazy. In the bullpen, things didn't go very good," Garcia said. "I just said, 'Don't think about what happened in the bullpen."

NOTES, QUOTES

Manager Tony La Russa, who had managed in two previous no-hitters pitched by the Cardinals (RHP Jose Jimenez in 1999 and LHP Bud Smith in 2001) said Friday's near-miss by LHP Jaime Garcia would have been a difficult one because of the heavy hitters in the Milwaukee lineup. "A quality opponent adds a lot to what he did," said La Russa. "Two hits and no runs (against the Brewers) ranks right there with a no-hitter."

SS Ryan Theriot had to come out of the game after three innings because his left shin, injured in the first inning by a wayward pitch from Milwaukee LHP Randy Wolf, had begun to stiffen up. Theriot is doubtful for Saturday afternoon's game. "He started losing his mobility," said La Russa. "We hope by getting him out early and icing it, that it won't be that long."

LHP Brian Tallet was hoping to be cleared to resume catching throws Friday as he waits for his fractured right hand to heal but he was told it wasn't strong enough and his putting on a glove has been pushed back a week. Tallet has been able to throw in the bullpen but he can't catch balls thrown back to him for fear of re-injuring his hand.

RF Lance Berkman, who has had few days off this season, sat against Milwaukee LHP Randy Wolf Friday. Berkman was just three for 27 (.111) against Wolf.

LF Matt Holliday extended his club-high hitting streak to 12 games with a run-scoring double in the first inning. Holliday is 20 for 49 in the streak and, for the 20th straight day, ended it at .400 or better (.410).

C Yadier Molina, who drew high praise from his manager for his handling of LHP Jamie Garcia, had been one for 18 against left-handed pitching this season until he singled and homered off LHP Randy Wolf his first two times up.

BY THE NUMBERS: 8-0 - Cardinals' record the last two seasons when C Yadier Molina hits a home run.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "He's got to be a little better because he's a little more experienced. But he pitched at a very high level."

- Manager Tony La Russa, comparing LHP Jaime Garcia, 4-0 this year, to the 13-game winner Garcia was last year as a rookie.

ROSTER REPORT

MEDICAL WATCH:

SS Ryan Theriot (bruised left shin) left the May 6 game shortly after being hit by a pitch. He is day-to-day.

3B David Freese (broken left hand) went on the 15-day disabled list May 2. He will have surgery May 3, and he is expected to be out until mid- to late July. Freese was scheduled to have a removable cast put on his broken left hand on May 6.

2B Skip Schumaker (strained right triceps) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 16. He hopes to return in May.

LHP Bryan Tallet (fractured right hand) went on 15-day disabled list April 13. He was throwing but not catching in early May, and the timetable for his return was uncertain.

RHP Bryan Augenstein (strained right groin) went on the 15-day disabled list April 13.

RHP Adam Wainwright (Tommy John surgery in February 2011) went on the 60-day disabled list March 25. He will miss the entire 2011 season.

 NEXT GAME

 

Sat., May 7 vs. BREWERS: Kyle Lohse (4-1, 2.44) vs. Yovani Gallardo (2-2, 6.10) 3:10 p.m. CDT (FOX Sports Midwest, KMOX Radio and Cardinals Radio Network).


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