Left-hander Jaime Garcia and a recently prolific offense couldn’t get the job done Tuesday.
Garcia (4-6) allowed a pair of fifth-inning runs that put the St. Louis Cardinals behind for good in their 5-2 loss to the Houston Astros in an interleague game at Busch Stadium.
St. Louis (35-29), coming off a sizzling 5-1 road trip to Cincinnati and Pittsburgh in which it averaged nearly 7 1/2 runs in its wins, was limited to five hits by Doug Fister (7-3) and relievers Tony Sipp, Ken Giles and Will Harris.
The Cardinals, who had won five straight, fell to 15-17 at home.
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Garcia permitted four runs (three earned) on eight hits in 6 1/3 innings, with former minor-league roommate Colby Rasmus delivering a tie-breaking homer to start the fifth.
Manager Mike Matheny was not entirely displeased with Garcia’s performance, which was in stark contrast to Garcia’s feelings about his outing.
“Terrible,” a curt Garcia said. “We lost. It wasn’t good enough.”
Garcia, reminded of his previous outing in which he yielded five runs on 13 hits in 4 2/3 innings against Cincinnati, brightened slightly.
“A lot better,” he said. “I made a couple of adjustments and was feeling better as the game went on as well.”
The Astros’ sixth through eighth hitters, Rasmus, Carlos Gomez and Marwin Gonzalez, were a combined 6-for-7 against Garcia. The Nos. 1 through 5 hitters were 2-for-15.
“I made a couple of mistakes and they put good swings on them,” Garcia said.
Rasmus whacked a 1-1 slider into the seats in right-center to make it 2-1 in the fifth. After a single and stolen base by Gomez, Gonzalez’s RBI single made it 3-1.
“It wasn’t a bad pitch. Tip your hat. Things happen,” said Garcia, who called Rasmus “a good friend. He had a good game.”
The biggest swing of the game came from Fister in the seventh. With runners at second and third and two outs, he singled to center against Seung Hwan Oh to make it 5-2.
“Good move because it worked,” said Matheny, who expected the Astros to pinch-hit.
Meanwhile, 10 of the final 12 Cardinals were retired. Harris mowed through Stephen Piscotty, Matt Adams and Jhonny Peralta in the ninth for his fourth save.
Adams and Brandon Moss homered for the Cardinals’ only runs. Adams homered to center in the first, his ninth of the season, to put St. Louis ahead 1-0. Moss connected to left in the sixth to make it 3-2. It was Moss’ team-leading 15th homer of the season, but his first hit to left.
“It says I was a little late,” Moss said. “That’s really all there was. With (Fister), he’ll throw anything at any time. That was my goal: If I was a little late on the fastball, it will go to the opposite field. But you can’t really look fastball on him and you can’t really look two-seam or cutter. You have to look in the middle of the plate and be on time.
“I was trying to let the ball get there and I took a really good swing. Luckily, I didn’t pop it up like I did the one before (in the third).”