I can't put into words how impressed I am with young Cardinals lefty Jaime Garcia.
Forced to take a beating in the thin air of Coors Field to try to preserve the bullpen, the kid bounced back in a big way. He throttled the Cubs for eight innings, allowing only one run on four hits to lead his team to a 6-1 win overt he Cubs at Busch Stadium.
The Cubs may have been without Aramis Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano. But Garcia's dominant start is impressive all the same.
It can be tough to right yourself after getting pounded for the worst start in your career. But Garcia seems to be completely unflappable with the maturity of a pitcher well beyond his age. I never get when people say baseball is boring when there aren't a lot of hits or runs. Good pitching is really a thing of beauty. And I enjoy watching Garcia practice his craft as much as I like to watch Albert Pujols hit.
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Cardinals right fielder Lance Berkman hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the first to take as much of the pressure off as possible. The Redbirds were never seriously threatened after that. They added a run in the fourth when Daniel Descalso scored on a wild pitch and two more in the fifth when Pujols hit his 100th home run at Busch Stadium III.
Ryan Theriot, Yadier Molina and Berkman each had two hits to pace the offense. Theriot's first inning double extended his hitting streak to 17 games.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Garcia's strong performance improved his record to 6-1 for the season with a 3.05 ERA. Pretty good for a guy who gave up 11 earned last time out. It just goes to show how brilliant he has been the rest of the season.
Cardinals Play of the Game: Berkman's three-run homer.
Lowlight: Skip Schumaker continues to struggle after missing time with an arm injury and reporting back to the Cardinals without much of a rehab assignment. He was hitless in four at bats to fall to .212 on the season.