Pitcher Jaime Garcia probably didn’t have a suitable answer Thursday for why the St. Louis Cardinals have played so poorly at Busch Stadium.
That being the case, Garcia opted to shoulder the blame in a 12-5 loss to the suddenly resurgent Milwaukee Brewers, who have won seven of their last eight.
“It’s not the team,” Garcia said after the Cardinals fell to 30-38 at Busch Stadium. “Today was me. I didn’t get the job done. I didn’t come through for the guys.”
Garcia (10-12) permitted five runs (earned) on eight hits, two of them home run on consecutive pitches in the second, in 3 2/3 innings as his ERA climbed to 4.58. It was Garcia’s second-shortest outing of the season.
In his last five starts, Garcia is 1-4 with an 8.06 ERA in his last five starts. He has dropped his last four starts, the longest slump of his career. He became the first Cardinals left-hander to lose 12 games in a season since Danny Jackson in 1995.
“Just a bad day overall,” Garcia said. “Early on, I felt pretty good. I was able to make some good pitches. Those two runs that I gave up in the second inning (homers to Domingo Santana and Orlando Arcia) were just baseball. After that, I didn’t get the job done. Tough day.
“I didn’t have my best stuff. No excuse again. I was trying to make pitches and keep us in the ballgame, and I didn’t do that tonight.”
Despite Garcia’s continued struggles, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said the 30-year-old left-hander is not in danger of losing his spot in the rotation.
“We need him to pitch,” Matheny said.
Milwaukee finished with 17 hits, with Martin Maldonado also launching a home run in the Brewers’ six-run sixth against Mike Mayers and Dean Kiekhefer that sent many in the crowd of 40,416 to the exits.
Matheny said he wasn’t surprised that there were no boos from the crowd.
“I don’t think that’s our fan base,” he said. “I just know our fans see the bigger picture, too. Overall, they’ve seen the team fight really hard this season.”
The two bright spots for the Cardinals were Kolten Wong’s two-run homer in the fourth that cut Milwaukee’s lead to 5-3 and 28-year-old rookie Jose Martinez’s first major-league hit, an RBI single in the eighth against submarine right-hander Ben Rowen.
The 6-foot-6 Martinez had 887 games and 3,342 minor-league at-bats before earning big-league hit No. 1.
“I can’t tell you how proud I am for myself,” Martinez said. “This is what every minor-league professional baseball player wants – to go out there and represent a big-league team and playing in a big-league stadium (with) a big-league crowd. I just can’t explain how I feel right now.
“There were a lot of tough times that I had. ... That’s why I had my family and friends, a lot of people who helped me through the system. Thank God, I’m here.”
Martinez’s hit was a smash that glanced off the glove of Brewers third baseman Jonathan Villar. Pinch-runner Greg Garcia scored.
“I wasn’t paying attention to the scoreboard,” Martinez said. “I was paying attention to Garcia on the score. I wanted to hit the ball and bring him in.”
Brewers 12, Cardinals 5
Milwaukee collected 17 hits, eight of them against Jaime Garcia, and smacked three home runs as it blew past St. Louis for its seventh win in eight games.
By the numbers
Garcia lost his fourth straight, allowing five runs (earned) on eight hits in 3 2/3 innings. ... Junior Guerra was the winner for the Brewers, permitting three runs (earned) on six hits in five innings. ... The Cardinals’ Brandon Moss snapped an 0-for-29 slump with a single in the eighth. ... Kolten Wong hit a two-run homer in the fourth, his fifth of the season. ... The Cardinals are 30-38 at Busch Stadium.
Carlos Martinez (13-7, 3.07 ERA) vs. Jimmy Nelson (7-13, 4.36 ERA), 7:15 p.m. Friday.