St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Jaime Garcia was dominant early before struggling through his last 1 2/3 innings of work.
But, with an assist from the bullpen, he was able to notch his first victory in a year as the Redbirds beat the Cincinnati Reds 6-3.
Garcia allowed only six hits on the night. But five of them came in the fifth and six innings. The southpaw who has struggled to overcome shoulder troubles only threw 59 pitches for over the first five innings. But it seemed that the extended fifth left a pitcher who was only making his second start of the season out of gas.
At least, hopefully, that was the problem. Garcia was sharp as could be through the first four innings and then suddenly had problems locating his pitches in the fifth. He threw a fastball that bounced two feet in front of the plate at one point. Hopefully that problematic shoulder didn't flare up again.
The Cardinals took the lead in the first when Matt Carpenter led off with a double and then was driven home by Matt Holliday. In the fourth they extended the lead to 2-0 when Yadier Molina hit a solo homer to the chagrin of Reds fans who booed as the ball was thrown back onto the field.
After the Reds cut the score to 2-1 in the fifth, the Birds loaded the bases with a single and a pair of walks in the top of the sixth. Reserve infielder Mark Ellis hit a long fly ball to the left centerfield warning track that nearly left the park for a grand slam to sacrifice one run home. Then Jon Jay hit a two-out single to plate another to make the game 4-1.
Garcia allowed a double, a single and a double to start the bottom of the sixth. The Reds cut the lead to 4-2 and had the tying run at second base with no outs. But Garcia settled and, after getting a line-out to second base, he struck out home run threat Jay Bruce. Carlos Martinez came in to strike out former St. Louis outfielder Ryan Ludwick to end the threat.
The Birds added two more runs in the top of the eighth to make the score 6-2 and then turned the game over to recently returned former closer Jason Motte who promptly gave up a leadoff homer to make the score 6-3. Motte got a flyout and a strikeout to put St. Louis within an out of victory. But when he allowed another former Cardinals outfielder, Skip Schumaker, to reach base manager Mike Matheny went to Trevor Rosenthal who slammed the door.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Jon Jay, who was a last minute addition to the lineup when Peter Bourjos was scratched with a stomach illness, collected three hits in four at-bats and drove in a pair of runs.
Cardinals Play of the Game: Mark Ellis' snare of a line-drive in the sixth that would have tied the game had he not reached the ball.
Lowlight: Allen Craig seemed like he couldn't see the ball very well Saturday night. He hitless in four at-bats with three strikeouts and he left four runners on base. Craig seemed to be guessing about what pitch was coming by the way he was lunging at the ball.