The Cardinals picked up a nice win of their opener of a four-game tilt with the defending National League champion Phillies, riding another excellent performance from rookie starter Jaime Garcia and some timely offense from Nick Stavinoha and David Freese to the winners circle.
Garcia tossed six innings, allowing three hits and one run against probably the most potent offense in the NL to lower his season ERA to a Gibsonesque 1.12. Better yet, he was lifted in the top of the seventh for a pinch hitter in a tie game. That hitter, Stavinoha, whacked a solo homer to give the Birds a lead they never surrendered. With that one stroke, Garcia secured the win to improve to 3-1.
Cardinals outfielder Ryan Ludwick scales the right field fence to rob Philadelphia second baseman Chase Utley of a hit in the first inning. AP photo.
Skip Schumaker and Albert Pujols singled after the Stavinoha homer then Matt Holliday was intentionally walked. With two out, Freese cleared the bases with a double off the wall to give the Birds a 5-1 lead then Colby Rasmus singled home Freese to make it 6-1.
Jayson Worth hit a solo shot off Kyle McClellan in the bottom of the seventh to make it 6-2 and then Chase Utley hit a full count homer off Trever Miller in the ninth. Miller then struck out Ryan Howard on a full count high fastball and Ryan Franklin came in to record the last two outs to bring home the win.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Garcia.
Cardinals Play of the Game: Freese's seventh inning, two-out double.
Lowlight: Ryan Ludwick was 0-for-5.