Garcia shuts down Braves, has RBI single in Cards' 1-0 win
ST. LOUIS (AP) Jaime Garcia turned back the clock to his childhood Friday night.
Garcia pitched eight scoreless innings and had an RBI single to lead the St. Louis Cardinals to a 1-0 victory over the Atlanta Braves.
''I think I did it a bunch of times in Little League,'' Garcia said of the dual production. ''I think the only thing that would have made it better would be to hit a home run for the only run.''
Garcia (8-8) became the first Cardinals pitcher with the lone RBI in a 1-0 win since Harvey Haddix did it against Pittsburgh on July 17, 1955. Garcia struck out 11 as he topped the 100-strikeout mark for the third time in his career.
Garcia entered the game with a .167 average and he wasn't about to puff out his chest about his production.
''I'm not a good hitter, but I try my best to get a good swing at the ball,'' Garcia said.
He pitched out of a two-on, no out jam in the fourth, striking out Freddie Freeman and Matt Kemp before getting Adonis Garcia to ground out. Freeman and Kemp, the Braves' Nos. 3 and 4 hitters, were a combined 0 for 6 against Jaime Garcia with five strikeouts.
Garcia's two-out single in the second drove in Matt Holliday for the pitcher's fourth RBI this season. Braves right fielder Jeff Francoeur thought he had a play on Holliday at the plate.
''It was just a bad throw, kind of straight in the ground, which I don't usually do,'' Francoeur said. ''So that was a frustrating one.''
Garcia needed just 89 pitches to get through eight innings, facing three batters over the minimum.
''You could tell the breaking ball and change-up were falling off the table, but he went to his sinker whenever he needed to and he wasn't even in a lot of deep counts,'' Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. ''That's why he only threw 89 pitches through eight innings.''
Seung Hwan Oh got the last three outs for his ninth save.
Braves right-hander Joel De La Cruz (0-4) gave up the run and two hits with five walks in 5 1/3 innings.
Garcia's effort aided a taxed Cardinals bullpen. Prior to his start, five of the last six St. Louis starters failed to pitch into the sixth inning.
''It was huge, trying to get our bullpen another full day,'' Matheny said. ''But we would have had Oh up and hot again so it wasn't like he was going to sit around.''
The Cardinals have won six of their last eight games at home to improve to 26-30 at Busch Stadium. St. Louis has won all four games this season against the Braves.
Atlanta's Ender Inciarte extended his hitting streak to 16 games by leading the game off with a single.
Atlanta has lost eight of its last 11 games at St. Louis.
HEAD OVER HEELS
Braves 3B Adonis Garcia tumbled into the camera well next to the Atlanta dugout to make an acrobatic catch on Brandon Moss' pop foul in bottom of the third inning.
''It was awesome,'' Francoeur said. ''I actually saw him from right field disappear and the next thing I saw was a baseball coming over the thing. It was a great play.''
Cardinals All-Star INF Matt Carpenter returned from the disabled list after missing 24 games with a right oblique strain. LHP Dean Kiekhefer was optioned to Triple-A Memphis.
Braves: RHP Julio Teheran (right lat strain) will play catch on Saturday, but there is no timetable for his return.
Cardinals: LHP Tyler Lyons (knee) will miss at least a month, general manager John Mozeliak said.
Braves: RHP Roberto Hernandez will make his Braves debut after being called up from Triple-A Gwinett Hernandez, formerly known as Fausto Carmona, has pitched for Cleveland, Tampa Bay, Philadelphia, Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston.
Cardinals: RHP Carlos Martinez (10-6, 2.99 ERA) leads all N.L. pitchers with a career-high 24 double plays induced. He is 2-0 with a 1.08 ERA in 16 2/3 career innings against the Braves.