St. Louis Cardinals

Garcia, Carpenter power Cards past Pirates

Jaime Garcia threw seven shutout innings and Matt Carpenter hit a two-run homer, powering the St. Louis Cardinals past Pittsburgh 4-1 Saturday at Busch Stadium.

The win puts the Cardinals (87-48) 6 1/2 games ahead of the Pirates (80-54) in the National League Central race. If the Cards play barely .500 ball the rest of the season – 14-13, say, to finish 101-61 – the Pirates would have to go 21-7 to match that mark.

He said it

“Not many people in the league can do what he does,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of Garcia, who improved to 8-4 as he lowered his ERA to 1.89 – tops in the Cardinals rotation. “Tonight was I think a good example of what it looks like when he’s really good.”

Who was there

A crowd of 45,139 put the Cardinals over the 3 million mark in paid attendance for the 12th consecutive season, the 19th time in franchise history. They’ve topped 3 million all 10 seasons at Busch Stadium III.

How it went

Garcia allowed four hits, walked one and struck out nine in his seven innings; he threw a season-high 108 pitches in notching his 50th career victory.

The Cards gave him a 2-0 lead in the second on Stephen Piscotty’s RBI single and a Pirates’ throwing error, and the Redbirds doubled that lead with Carpenter’s 21st homer into the Bucs bullpen in the seventh. Carpenter leads the team in HRs and RBIs (71) this year.

Kevin Siegrist pitched a scoreless eighth, fanning two, but closer Trevor Rosenthal gave up two hits and a run even as he struck out three in the ninth.