The Cardinals could manage only six hits Friday against the Reds. But they made it stand up behind a great pitching performance from rookie starter Jaime Garcia and won 3-2.
The atmosphere should have been that of a playoff game. But with the Redbirds trailing Cincinnati by 8 games, the atmosphere was more of desperation and tension that that of a fair fight to the finish.
Cardinals fans booed mightily ever time Brendan Phillips -- who belittled St. Louis players on more than one occasion this season -- every time he came to the plate or touched the ball in the field. And they cheered even louder when he made each of his four outs in four plate appearances.
In all the years I have been going to the ballpark, I have never seen fans throw balls fouled into the stands back onto the field. But that's what happened when Phillips fouled off a couple Friday.
Cardinals starting pitcher Jaime Garcia improved to 13-6 Friday with a win over the Reds. AP photo.
The Cardinals scored a pair of runs in the first when Skip Schumaker singled to lead off the game then Jon Jay tripled (really a double with a soccer exhibition in the right field corner) Schumaker home. Albert Pujols, who hasn't had a hit in his last 15 at bats, narrowly missed a home run for a sacrifice fly to make the score 2-0.
In the second Brendan Ryan singled then Garcia doubled with one out. Schumaker grounded out to second to drive home one run to make it 3-0. Then Jay hit a ball up the middle that almost got through, but the Reds snuffed out the rally and the Birds never really threatened again.
The Reds scored single runs in the third and the fourth and threatened in the seventh and the eighth. The Cardinals managed only two hits over the last six innings of the game. But the bullpen held up and Ryan Franklin notched one of his least eventful saves of the season.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Garcia pitched 6 2/3 innings allowing six hits and two earned runs while striking out six.
Cardinals Play of the Game: In the bottom of the eighth Kyle McClellan came in with the tying run at second and the go ahead run at third and got a lineout to right and a strikeout to end the threat. Technically, that's two plays. But if he didn't make them both, this game may have turned out far differently.
Lowlight: Reds starter Bronson Arroyo hit Matt Holliday flush in the wrist with a high and tight pitch. Holliday was able to continue. Hopefully the wrist doesn't swell up overnight...