After losing their first three series of the season, all by 2-1 counts, the Cardinals have run off an 8-0-1 mark in their next nine series. They posted their eighth series win since April 8-10 when they battered the Cubs 9-1 on Thursday.
Left-hander Jaime Garcia, acting more and more like the staff ace even though he is just in his second full season, gave up one run while allowing nine hits in seven innings. He raised his record to 5-0 (tied for the league lead) and lowered his ERA to 1.89 (second in the league).
"It probably wasn't the best I've felt this year physically," Garcia said. "I was just trying to find a way. If one pitch wasn't working, you go on to the next one."
Acting manager Joe
Pettini, feeling his oats with manager Tony La Russa back in
Pettini, who ran the matter by La Russa before putting it in play, determined that many more balls (25-9) were hit to third base than second when Garcia pitched. So he kept Daniel Descalso, who also can play second, at third base. With shortstop Ryan Theriot out due to a right oblique issue and veteran Nick Punto having some minor aches and pains, that left only Craig.
"I've been with Tony for 10 years, and I've learned a lot from the guy," Pettini said, who added that one of those lessons was not to be afraid to try something different.
"It worked out the way we were hoping," Pettini said. "Allen had four at-bats and got on base twice. He started a double play. And if it wasn't for me moving him to the middle of the field, he probably would have made the other play."
Related article: "Garcia has fifth-lowest MLB ERA since joining Cardinals rotation" at TheCardinalNationBlog.com.
NOTES AND QUOTES
With manager Tony La
Russa back in
2B Allen Craig, who hadn't been playing that much lately—he was recovering from a groin strain—got his first middle-infield start. "It's not a matter of it being fair. I want to be in the lineup," Craig said.
SS Ryan Theriot, who had
some side issues previously, sat out Thursday's game after feeling a tug in his
right side Wednesday night. However, Theriot said he could have played. "I don't
even feel it today," he said. He said he would be ready for the start of a
three-game series in
RF Jon Jay, who hadn't had a hit in 10 at-bats with a man in scoring position and hadn't knocked in a run other than hitting two pinch homers, got a rare start and went 3-for-6, driving in three runs.
In a 9-1 game, there sometimes is no key play. But with the Cardinals leading the Cubs 1-0 and one out in the second inning, SS Tyler Greene was walked intentionally to load the bases for LHP Jaime Garcia, who swings the bat well but was only 1-for-16 this season. Garcia singled home one run, and RF Jon Jay doubled in two more to help make it a five-run inning.
BY THE NUMBERS: 18-8 - LHP Jaime Garcia's combined record the last two seasons.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "He's got four pitches that he can throw for strikes whenever he wants to."
- RF Jon Jay, on LHP Jaime Garcia.
SS Ryan Theriot (sore right side) didn't play May 12. He expects to be back in the lineup May 13.
3B David Freese (broken left hand) went on the 15-day disabled list May 2. He had surgery May 3, and he is expected to be out until mid- to late July.
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.
May 13 at REDS: Kyle Lohse (4-2, 2.24) vs. Bronson Arroyo (3-3, 3.68) 6:10 p.m.
CDT (FOX Sports