Garcia dazzles as Cardinals whip Brewers 5-1
ST. LOUIS (AP) Jaime Garcia can relate to what Carlos Martinez is going through.
The Cardinals found out Saturday that Martinez is done for the year with a right shoulder strain, something the oft-injured Garcia didn't learn until after throwing eight dominant innings in a 5-1 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers that kept St. Louis' NL Central lead at three games.
''I told him, `You know, stuff happens,''' Garcia said. ''He threw a lot of innings for the first time in his career, and he had a tremendous season, and now he's got to figure out what the best plan is.''
Garcia (10-5) has revived his career after undergoing thoracic outlet surgery in 2014 for nerve compression that caused numbness and tingling and cost him big chunks of the previous three seasons.
''I think whenever we're done with this year, I'll have time to sit back and think about everything that's happened,'' Garcia said. ''For right now, I was preparing for this start, and now I've got to get ready for my next start.''
The Cardinals shaved their magic number to five for clinching the division after second-place Pittsburgh beat the Cubs 4-0 earlier in the day.
Matt Holliday had a pair of RBI doubles, and Kolten Wong's two-run single capped a four-run first against rookie Tyler Wagner (0-1).
''Just a real nice stroke and the ball jumping off his bat,'' manager Mike Matheny said of Holliday. ''That's the guy we want him to be.''
Matt Carpenter was removed after five innings with left hip tightness for precautionary reasons, but said after the game he intended to play Sunday in the home finale.
Matheny said Carpenter had to be persuaded to come out.
''By the time I came up the steps into the clubhouse he was already lobbying that he was fine and wants to play,'' Matheny said.
Garcia (10-5) allowed a run on seven hits, retiring 10 in a row at one point. The lefty struck out eight with no walks and reached double figures in victories for the first time since 2011.
Garcia is 7-1 since Aug. 1, and the Cardinals are 10-1 in his last 11 starts.
The Cardinals are 98-57 overall and 55-25 at Busch Stadium, both major league bests, heading into the home regular-season finale on Sunday. It's the most victories in Matheny's four seasons, topping 97 wins in 2013.
Milwaukee had the bullpen busy in the first when St. Louis scored four runs on five hits with two walks against Wagner, making his second career start and first since May 31.
''Early in the game he didn't get a second pitch going at all because he was behind in the counts,'' manager Craig Counsell said. ''So they just kind of waited him out, waited for a sinker they could hit.''
Wong ranged far to his left at 2B to rob Jean Segura of a hit in the third.
Brewers: C Jonathan Lucroy got a spot start at 1B and had two hits and an RBI. Counsell said Adam Lind will get the bulk of the playing time there, and that Lucroy, coming off a concussion, won't catch again this season. Lucroy and Ryan Braun (lower back) both were in the Brewers lineup for the first time since Sept. 8.
Cardinals: C Yadier Molina, sidelined since Sunday by a slight ligament tear in his left thumb, will be examined Monday. The team has been hopeful he'll return before the end of the season.
John Lackey (13-9, 2.74) can become the fourth Cardinals pitcher to win 10 games at home in a season and he's 3-0 with a 2.00 ERA in four starts against Milwaukee. Tyler Cravy (0-8, 6.21) starts for the Brewers.