After another dismal performance by Jaime Garcia on Monday, the St. Louis Cardinals might be taking volunteers to fill his spot in the rotation Saturday.
Garcia lasted a career-low one inning and allowed two runs on four hits, including two homers, as the Cardinals were shellacked by the Cincinnati Reds 15-2 at Busch Stadium. The Reds also had three stolen bases in the first, two by Brandon Phillips.
Cincinnati walloped four home runs: two by Adam Duvall and one apiece by Joey Votto and Steve Selsky. The Reds’ rapped out 22 hits, a season-high for a Cardinals opponent.
More importantly, the Cardinals fell one game behind the idle San Francisco Giants in the National League wild-card standings. They remained 1 1/2 games behind the New York Mets, who lost to Miami 7-3 in the Marlins’ first game since the death of star pitcher Jose Fernandez.
“I’m very disappointed, and it started with myself,” said Garcia (10-13). “It started with a starting pitcher that didn’t get the job done. When the starting pitcher keeps us in the game, it sets the pace for the whole team. I wasn’t able to do that tonight. I’m very disappointed in myself. I feel ashamed right now and I know my teammates are disappointed.
“But we’ve still got six more games to go. We’ll try to go out there (Tuesday) and win a ballgame.”
St. Louis (81-75) fell to 33-42 at Busch Stadium. They have three games remaining against Cincinnati before closing the regular season with three against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
I’m very disappointed, and it started with myself. It started with a starting pitcher that didn’t get the job done. When the starting pitcher keeps us in the game, it sets the pace for the whole team. I wasn’t able to do that tonight. I’m very disappointed in myself. I feel ashamed right now and I know my teammates are disappointed.
St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Jaime Garcia
Votto and Duvall hit back-to-back homers in the first against Garcia, who was relieved in the second by Michael Wacha.
Wacha fared even worse, yielding seven runs (earned) on nine hits in 2 2/3 innings. Wacha surrendered Selsky’s home run that made it 3-0 in the second, then was torched for six more runs in the Reds’ seven-run outburst in the fourth that made it 10-0.
Rookie Luke Weaver allowed a run in the fourth and four more in the fifth to make it 14-1. Duvall’s three-run homer, which made it 13-1, sent many in the crowd of 34,942 to the exits. It was the Cardinals’ first crowd of less than 40,000 since Sept. 24, 2013, a span of 240 games.
Garcia was demoted from the rotation after a poor start Sept. 13 against the Chicago Cubs in which he gave up two runs on three hits in 1 2/3 innings. Weaver was inserted into the rotation, but he struggled and Garcia, after throwing four scoreless innings out of the bullpen Wednesday in Colorado, re-entered the rotation.
If it doesn’t look right, we’ve got to try and make a move. It didn’t look right. We had our backs against the wall already (in the first). We’ve got arms down there that can throw, so we’re going to give them a shot.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny on removing Jaime Garcia after one inning
But Garcia looked so lost Monday that Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said he never even considered sending him back to the mound in the second.
“If it doesn’t look right, we’ve got to try and make a move,” Matheny said. “It didn’t look right. We had our backs against the wall already (in the first). We’ve got arms down there that can throw, so we’re going to give them a shot.”
Regarding who the Cardinals will start Saturday against Pittsburgh, Matheny said: “I don’t know. I have no idea right now. We’ll cross that when we get to it.”
Garcia continued to insist there is nothing physically wrong.
“I felt good,” he said. “I just didn’t get out of it.”
The Reds were running at will on Garcia, as Jose Peraza singled to lead off the game and promptly stole second. One out later, Peraza attempted to steal third was initially called safe, but the Cardinals challenged the call, which was overturned and Peraza was out.
Votto and Duvall followed with bases-empty homers to make it 2-0. Phillips singled and stole second and third rather easily before Scott Schebler grounded out.
“There’s something mechanically off right now. I’m a little too slow to the plate,” Garcia said. “I’ve got to be quicker. I feel good physically. I’m just making mistakes and they’re squaring the ball right now.”
Offensively, the Cardinals couldn’t handle right-hander Tim Adleman (3-4), who lasted seven innings and allowed two runs, with no walks and four strikeouts.
Yadier Molina had a sacrifice fly after Stephen Piscotty’s triple in the fourth, and Jedd Gyorko’s RBI double followed Jhonny Peralta’s double in the fifth.
Randal Grichuk, who was 0-for-2, said the Cardinals should have done more with Adleman. But facing a double-digit deficit, it hardly mattered.
“Sinker and curveball,” Grichuk said. “Honestly, I don’t think he’s anything special. He threw well tonight, though.”