A couple of areas people thought were troublesome for the Cardinals were no problem at all on Tuesday night.
Left-hander Jaime Garcia, who had been
only 1-5 against
And the new keystone combination of second baseman Daniel Descalso and rookie shortstop Pete Kozma excelled again both defensively and offensively in a 4-0 win that -- coupled with the Dodgers' and Brewers' losses -- cut to four the Cardinals' magic number for clinching a wild card playoff spot.
The win was the 10th in succession for
the Cardinals over
Garcia, featuring a good changeup and
darting, late moving fastball, didn't walk a hitter as he beat
"He was good, right from the start," said manager Mike Matheny. "You could see he had incredible movement. The ball was running all over the place."
Matheny said he and Garcia had talked
"It was frustrating to him," said Matheny. "It just didn't make sense, but you can't deny that it was happening."
Matheny's message was, "Don't let these distractions get in the way. There's always distractions."
Garcia said it wasn't that the talk
didn't help. But he said, "It's not like that happened and I'm a different guy.
I'm the same guy I was in
Kozma, filling in for injured shortstop Rafael Furcal (torn elbow ligament), had an extra-base hit for the third game in a row and drove in his fifth run in the last three games by doubling home Descalso on a hit-and-run in the eighth inning. Kozma then scored on center fielder Jon Jay's second run batted in, and he also started a key double play on a slow bouncer.
3B David Freese likely
will miss the final game of the
LHP Jaime Garcia won his
third game on the road to go with three at home by allowing six singles and no
walks on Tuesday. "It was one of my best games of the year when you talk about
command," Garcia said. Garcia never had won in
CF Jon Jay stole his 19th base. No Cardinals player has stolen 20 bases since Cesar Izturis had 24 in 2008.
RHP Chris Carpenter on
Wednesday will make his second start after surgery on July 19 to relieve a nerve
problem that affected his neck and right shoulder. Carpenter worked five innings
of two-run ball on Friday in
LF Matt Holliday, one night after reaching the 100-RBI plateau, walked in his first three appearances on Tuesday. But RF Carlos Beltran continued to struggle, fanning twice and, swinging at a 3-0 pitch, hitting into a double play with the bases loaded.
By the Numbers:
1 - Shutouts by Cardinals
pitchers on the road this season. Their first came Tuesday night in
Quote to Note:
"Any team at any time can beat another team."
- Manager Mike Matheny,
even after the Cardinals had beaten
RHP Jake Westbrook
(strained right oblique) was injured Sept. 8, and he probably is out for the
rest of the regular season. He encountered discomfort in a bullpen session Sept.
LF Matt Holliday (back) came out of the Sept. 23 game in the ninth inning, but was back in the lineup the next day.
C Yadier Molina (back spasms) did not play Sept. 23 but was back in the lineup the next day.
1B Lance Berkman (sore right knee) underwent additional surgery Sept. 14 and was thought to be out for the season, but he said he still wants to try to play.
SS Rafael Furcal (torn ligament in right elbow) was placed on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 31 and is out for the season. He might need Tommy John surgery, but he got a platelet-rich plasma injection on Sept. 4 in the hopes of avoiding having to go under the knife, but as of Sept. 19 he still hadn't been able to do any baseball activities.
RHP Kyle McClellan (torn labrum in right shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list May 18 due to a strained right elbow, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 30. He threw on flat ground for the first time July 3, but he subsequently felt shoulder pain. He had season-ending shoulder surgery July 10.
Link to boxscore: St. Louis 4 at Houston 0