"Not right" Garcia makes early Tuesday exit

The St. Louis Cardinals were behind early and could not quite come back against Houston Tuesday night, losing the series opener at Minute Maid Park, 9-8.



When Jaime Garcia was sent back to St. Louis to have his tender left elbow examined, he missed one start but passed muster medically to rejoin the club and make a start Tuesday night in Houston. But as manager Mike Matheny said after an aborted performance of two innings, "He isn't right."


Minute Maid Park in Houston never has been terribly kind to Garcia, who before the game had a 7.08 earned run average in that ballpark. That ERA got worse on Tuesday in a 9-8 loss to the Astros as Houston pounded Garcia for six runs in two innings.


Garcia, being handled by backup catcher Tony Cruz again, threw many curveballs and not very many good ones. He rarely used his fastball.


"His fastball is not quite there," Matheny said. "He's reluctant to use it. There's definitely something not right. He's just got to find out what it is."


Garcia (3-4) had no answers afterward.


"I wish I knew. I would fix it," Garcia said. "I'm definitely not in a position where I'm able to help the team to win."


Though Garcia was cleared to pitch after being examined in St. Louis, he said, "I never said I was at full strength. They asked me how my elbow felt, I said, 'No pain.' Before, when I told them my elbow hurt, there was a little pain.


"I guess I have to be looked at by the trainers and the pitching coach and the manager and come up with a plan. I'm struggling right now. It's rough. But at the same time, I've got to keep moving forward."



1B Matt Adams hit one of the longest home runs in Minute Maid Park history when he shot one over the center-field wall with two runners on in the third. The rookie, who had been benched for a couple of games, had been 0 for his last 14 until he had two hits Tuesday.

SS Rafael Furcal popped a two-run homer off the right-field foul pole and CF Adron Chambers tripled home two runs as the Cardinals futilely rallied with four runs in the ninth. "I'm extremely pleased how hard this offense just fights," said manager Mike Matheny. "We just keep running out of time." The Cardinals have lost nine of their last 12 games.

RHP Mitchell Boggs drilled Houston CF Justin Maxwell in the knee with a pitch in the eighth inning, drawing a warning from home-plate umpire Brian O'Nora. The Cardinals may have taken exception to Maxwell's bat flip and then observance of his long home run off LHP Jaime Garcia in the second inning.

OF Tate Matheny, son of Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, was not taken in the first 10 rounds of the major league first-year player draft, although Matheny probably ranked as a player who would have at least been ranked that high. Matheny, who led his high school team to a second straight state championship, has signed to play for Missouri State. "We put a price on him for what it would take for him to go to skip out on the college experience," Mike Matheny said. "He took the road of being honest with them about what it would take for him not to go to college. I applaud him for that."

C Yadier Molina and CF Carlos Beltran called Houston's top draft pick, SS Carlos Correa, a fellow Puerto Rican, to congratulate him on becoming the first Puerto Rico player to be taken as the No. 1 overall selection in the first-year player draft. Beltran has established an academy in Puerto Rico, and the first class from his academy will graduate next year and be eligible for the draft.

1B Lance Berkman, who had right knee surgery last month, is still hobbled but rejoined his team in the dugout in Houston, where he lives. Berkman is shooting for a mid-July return to the lineup, saying his recovery is "way ahead of where I expected to be."

By the Numbers:

4-10 - Cardinals' record in one-run games. The 10th loss was suffered on Tuesday, 9-8 at Houston.

Quote to Note:

"We were confident he would be ready to go. He obviously wasn't."

- Manager Mike Matheny on LHP Jaime Garcia, who lasted just two innings after missing a turn with an elbow ailment.


2B-OF Skip Schumaker (strained right hamstring) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 31.

3B David Freese (mildly sprained right wrist) did not play May 28-31. He was back in the lineup June 1.

LHP Jaime Garcia (left elbow) experienced discomfort after his May 26 start. An MRI showed no damage, and after missing a turn, he was back for his June 5 start.

CF Jon Jay (separated right shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list May 15. He was told to not swing a bat for a week, which means he'll be inactive through about June 7.

INF Matt Carpenter (strained right oblique) went on the 15-day disabled list May 23.

1B Lance Berkman (torn meniscus in right knee) went on the 15-day disabled list May 20. He had arthroscopic surgery May 25, and no ACL damage was found. He might return in mid- to late July.

RHP Kyle McClellan (strained right ulnar collateral ligament) went on the 15-day disabled list May 18. He won't need surgery but likely will be sidelined at least late July.

RHP Scott Linebrink (right shoulder capsulitis) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 30. He felt tightness during an April 30 bullpen session, and he didn't appear close to a return.

RHP Chris Carpenter (weak right shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 26. He probably won't pitch until at least late July.

Link to boxscore: Houston 9, St. Louis 8

Related poll at The Cardinal Nation Blog: "Who is your Cardinals sixth starter?"

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