Cardinals manager Tony La Russa's decision to give Chris Carpenter an extra day of rest and let rookie Jaime Garcia start Saturday against Milwaukee paid off in spades.
Garcia tamed the Brewers for six exceptional innings to lead the Birds to a 7-1 win. Now the Cardinals will have their ace on the hill Sunday as they try to go for the sweep against lefty Randy Wolf.
Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols raps a two-out base hit Saturday against the Brewers in Milwaukee. AP Photo.
Newly signed Yovani Gallardo shut down St. Louis in the first inning. But in the second frame, Matt Holliday led off with a hit and was moved up to second when Colby Rasmus walked. (He walked a total of 36 times in 147 games last year, so far this season Rasmus has drawn eight walks through six games.) Ryan Ludwick, who has been grasping for his hitting stroke, smacked an RBI base hit to give the Cardinals the lead and cruised into second when the throw went to the plate. Catcher Yadier Molina, looking for a ball he could drive, got a high fastball and cranked it into the left field stands for a three run homer to break the game open.
Garcia scored to help his cause in the fifth when he walked and was driven in by an Albert Pujols two-out base hit. On the hill, he allowed four hits and three walks in his six innings. Only one Brewer scored while he was dealing.
Matt Holliday had two more hits with a run scored to continue to pace the St. Louis offense. He's hitting .476 so far in the young season.
Cardinals Star of the Game:It could go to several players, but i have to hand it to Garcia for making a poised and sharp start. The story was that La Russa moved him up to keep the kid from having to pitch on national TV in his second major league start (the first was in 2008.) But the game was the first Saturday broadcast on Fox, so it was still in front of a large, semi national audience...
Play of the Game: Molina's second inning homer to put the Cardinals up by four runs. They never looked back.
Lowlight:Felipe Lopez got the start and moved to second base later in the game. He didn't play badly in the field. But he was 0-5 at the plate and his batting average sank to .091 for the first week of the season. It's a small sample size. But he doesn't seem to be seeing the ball well or getting a good swing on it.