Cardinals Major League Notebook: 04/29/10

The Cardinals clinched the Atlanta series behind Jaime Garcia Wednesday night, winning the first three, and go for the sweep Thursday afternoon at Busch Stadium.

INSIDE PITCH

 

Rookie Jaime Garcia, who earlier this month became the first left-handed starter to win a game for the Cardinals in nearly four years, scored his first victory as a starter at home on Wednesday night. It was nearly as good as his first start at home, when he held the New York Mets to one hit and no runs for seven innings in a no-decision on April 17.

 

Garcia allowed the reeling Atlanta Braves just four singles and a walk in seven scoreless innings Wednesday and was rewarded with a 6-0 triumph. Garcia's ERA is 1.04 -- he has given up just three earned runs in four starts.

 

"Quality job," said manager Tony La Russa.

 

But while La Russa is quick to compliment his 23-year-old pitcher, he has equal or more praise for Gold Glove catcher Yadier Molina.

 

"The catcher is (Garcia's) seasoning," La Russa said. "What (Garcia) is doing is he's doing a real good job of maintaining his composure and keeping his delivery together.

 

"He's not out there calling his own game. The catcher is doing a great job. But (Garcia) has a lot work with."

 

Garcia, who recorded 12 groundball outs, said, "I was able to keep the ball down, and it was moving a lot."

 

The game marked the 16th out of 21 in which a Cardinals starter had permitted two earned runs or less. And Cardinals pitchers still haven't allowed a home run in nine games at Busch Stadium, including a 20-inning affair.

 

The next closest team to that zero figure is the New York Yankees, at four homers given up at home.

 

CARDINALS 6, BRAVES 0: The Cardinals had a rare game in which they scored six runs without hitting a homer, and they were just 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position. But left-hander Jaime Garcia allowed three hits out of the infield in seven innings, and the Cardinals scored two of their runs on wild pitches.

 

NOTES, QUOTES

 

--2B Skip Schumaker, whose on-base average was only .289 before Wednesday, reached base four times -- twice each on hits and walks.

 

"It's not where you want to be as a leadoff hitter, hitting .200 (actually .203)," said Schumaker. "You want to be on base with this lineup. It's not rocket science. I get on four times and I score twice. The top of the lineup needs to get on base, and I haven't been doing a good job of that lately."

 

--CF Colby Rasmus, who had been 0-for-11 against left-handed pitching, got a double and a single off southpaws Wednesday. 2B Skip Schumaker and Rasmus both didn't fare well against left-handers last year, but manager Tony La Russa said, "Our left-handed hitters hang in there (against left-handed pitchers). I don't think any of those two guys thinks they have trouble against left-handers."

 

--The Cardinals had four intentional walks given to them, and they scored a total of three runs after those walks. They also hit into three double plays.

 

--SS Brendan Ryan fanned twice more in falling to .159. "Keep sharp objects away from me," muttered Ryan.

 

La Russa said he would prefer that Ryan not exhibit his frustrations as much on the field, as he has been doing.

 

"His body language tells you that he's not happy -- that he's frustrated," said La Russa. "That's one of those 'no-nos.' You never let the other side know what you're thinking. But he's an emotional guy. He's just got to will himself to do things right. If he does things right, with his talent, he'll get base hits. Even with that, he continues to play outstanding defense. He's in (catcher Yadier Molina's) class. He could go hitless for the year and still help us win."

 

--LF Matt Holliday, robbed of one potential run-scoring hit, is 3-for-30 (.100) with men in scoring position.

 

BY THE NUMBERS: 15 -- Home run differential (24-9) for the Cardinals after the first three weeks of the season.

 

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It was unbelievable. You're talking to a lot of people who seem perfectly normal but who obviously have done some really bad things." -- 2B Skip Schumaker, after visiting San Quentin State Prison near San Francisco.

 

ROSTER REPORT

 

MEDICAL WATCH:

 

--INF Felipe Lopez (strained right elbow) went on the 15-day disabled list April 26.


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