Jason Motte entered the ninth inning of a 2-1 Cardinals lead and walked off the mound the losing pitcher after giving up a two-run single to former Cardinal Joe Mather. The Chicago Cubs did what no other team was successful at doing so far this season, score off Motte in a save situation.
The loss spoiled a very nice performance from Jaime Garcia. Garcia lasted 7.2 innings, only allowing a first-inning run and scattering six hits and one walk. He struck out four batters and was never in much trouble after the first. In that frame, he allowed two infield hits and a sac fly to Alfonso Soriano which scored Darwin Barney.
Cubs starter Matt Garza pitched pitched well enough to keep the Cubs in the game. He allowed two runs on four hits and three walks in seven innings. The Cardinals reached Garza in the fourth inning when Skip Schumaker, who started in center field, singled to open the inning. Matt Holliday followed with a double, one of his two hits on the night, putting runners at second at third. Carlos Beltran grounded out to second scoring Schumaker. After David Freese was hit by a pitch, Yadier Molina hit a sacrifice fly to center scoring Holliday and giving the Redbirds a 2-1 lead. Garza walked Matt Carpenter, threw a wild pitch and then walked Tyler Greene to load the bases before he was able to escape further damage by coaxing a fly out off the bat of Garcia.
The teams traded zeroes until the ninth. Motte entered the game, taking over for Mitchell Boggs, who got one out to finish off the eighth inning. Motte struck out Soriano, but next walked Bryan LaHair in a 12-pitch at-bat and then Geovany Soto in succession. Steve Clevenger grounded out to move the runners to second and third. That brought up Mather who singled up the middle on a slider from Motte. Both runners scored as Shane Robinson‘s throw home was not in time.
- Greene made his fourth start in the last five games.
- Jon Jay‘s MRI came back negative and is day-to-day.
- Allen Craig had three singles in yesterday’s rehab start for Class A Advanced Palm Beach.
MY TWO CENTS
For what it’s worth, there were some good things to take out of last night’s loss. Garcia pitched deep into the game, making it into the seventh inning for the second straight start. If there was a knock on the young lefty it was his inability to get into the seventh or eighth innings on a consistent basis. What’s better is that he threw only 85 pitches in doing so, meaning he is not taxing his arm at all.
I’ve been calling on Garcia to make this step this season as his progression reaches a turning point. For him to get to the next level, he needs to give length to his starts and hopefully the trend will continue.
Next, the emergence of Boggs as the eighth inning man has been a pleasant sight. He had a rough Spring Training when looking at the stats, but he was working on advancing his repertoire and it seems to be paying off. He has a 0.96 ERA with 9 strikeouts in 9.1 innings. He has held batters to a .133 batting average and owns a 0.54 WHIP.
Lastly, Mike Matheny has been using Beltran in the cleanup spot since the injury to Lance Berkman. Beltran had been used primarily in the number two hole and was hitting more like a cleanup hitter in that spot. He leads the team in home runs with five, one as the cleanup hitter. He is only hitting .235 in the slot so far, but has four RBI. Once Berkman returns it will be interesting to see how Beltran fared in the fourth spot and if Matheny will revert back to the original lineup.
Tags: Adam Wainwright Alfonso Soriano Allen Craig Bryan LaHair Cardinals Carlos Beltran Darwin Barney David Freese Geovany Soto Jaime Garcia Jason Motte Jon Jay Lance Berkman Matt Carpenter Matt Garza Matt Holliday Mike Matheny Mitchell Boggs Rafael Furcal Shane Robinson Skip Schumaker St Louis Cardinals Steve Clevenger Tyler Greene Yadier Molina