ST. LOUIS – The St. Louis Cardinals finally got the shutdown start they hope can ignite their slow-starting pitching rotation.
Jaime Garcia, the team’s No. 4 starter, one-hit the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday afternoon in the Cardinals’ 7-0 victory at Busch Stadium. Garcia combined his typically bedeviling movement with pinpoint command to make Milwaukee look lifeless.
The Brewers didn’t get a man on base until a wild pitch allowed Keon Broxton to take first base after he struck out in the third inning. They didn’t hit their way on until Domingo Santana’s clean single to right field with two outs in the sixth, their only hit. Garcia struck out 13 Brewers, a career high, and allowed just three balls to reach the outfield. He walked one batter, but quickly got a double play, two of his 13 ground ball outs. Garcia had twice as many hits as the Brewers, singling twice to left field. Garcia (1-0) threw 105 pitches, 72 of them for strikes, and left the mound to a raucous standing ovation after striking out Scooter Gennett looking to end the game.
Going into Thursday, Cardinals starters -- the bedrock of the team -- had a 5.36 ERA.
The Cardinals continued their hot hitting, this time against Milwaukee ace Wily Peralta, who has started the season in a bit of a funk.
The most notable development aside from Garcia’s dominance was Randal Grichuk hitting his first home run of the season in the third inning. It almost didn’t happen, twice. First, Broxton caught it briefly before the collision with top of the wall jarred it loose and over the fence. Then, Grichuk – eyes fixated on Broxton – passed Brandon Moss at first base. Umpire John Hirschbeck missed it, however, and apparently the Brewers’ bench did, too. Milwaukee did not ask for a replay of what is a reviewable play. Had Grichuk been called out by Hirschbeck, it would have gone down as an RBI single.
Grichuk started his season 1-for-15 with eight strikeouts and twice was benched while the Cardinals were in Atlanta, but he started seeing the ball better during that series and went 5-for-10 with three extra-base hits in the Milwaukee series.
Rookie Jeremy Hazelbaker also continued his made-for-the-movies start to the season, homering in the seventh off Milwaukee left-hander Chris Capuano. Hazelbaker, who was released last season as a 27-year old in Double-A, leads the Cardinals with three home runs and is second to Matt Carpenter with seven RBIs.