Albert Pujols and Ryan Ludwick each homered to boost the Cardinals to a 4-3 win that keeps them in first place for another few days. Jaime Garcia was effective on the mound for six plus innings and the Cards recaptured their magic from April. The win also put an end to a five-game win streak for the Reds.
Jaime Garcia has kept his intensity up for every start this season. As a rookie, he’s always trying to prove himself. Through seven starts, Garcia has certainly done that. He has a sparkling 1.42 ERA and said he’s feeling more comfortable with every start. He’s also always trying to learn. With the veteran leadership and Dave Duncan on his side, there is plenty to learn, too.
Besides his winning attitude, he has shown he has winning stuff. Garcia employed his tight slider to strike out six Friday. He also has a good fastball that cuts and sinks, a changeup, and a curve. And it’s all been working for the 23-year-old.
The Reds didn’t shrink after the Cards jumped out to a 4-0 lead through six. Cincinnati showed some fight to the last out. Jonny Gomes doubled to start the seventh. Drew Stubbs drove him in with his homer to center, knocking Garcia out of the game. Stubbs drove Gomes in again in the ninth on a fielder’s choice, but Ryan Franklin was able to close it out for his eighth save. Aaron Harang pitched a solid six innings, but his two mistakes were big ones — he surrendered two two-run shots to Pujols and Ludwick that proved to be the difference.
The game also proves to be the difference in the NL Central standings today. The Cards lead Cincinnati by 1 1/2 games.