Garcia limited Cincinnati to two runs and six hits over 6.2 innings
After back-to-back 13-win seasons in which he posted ERAs of 2.70 and 3.56, St. Louis Cardinals‘ starting pitcher Jaime Garcia was projected to be an integral part of the club’s 2012 rotation. Instead, the 26-year-old left-hander struggled and lost his rotation spot for part of the year. He claimed a bit of redemption on Monday.
With the Cardinals clinging to a two-game lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the race for the second wild card spot and three games remaining, Garcia limited Cincinnati to two runs and six hits with six strikeouts and one walk over 6.2 innings as St. Louis topped the Reds, 4-2. Garcia improved to 7-7 overall with a 3.92 ERA
Though the Reds have clinched the National League Central title, they are still battling Washington for the best record in the NL and home park advantage in the playoffs. The Nationals were blanked by the Phillies, 2-0, on Monday so they remain tied for the top record with Cincinnati at 96-64.
Like last year, when they claimed a wild card berth on the last night of the regular season, the Cardinals’ post-season hopes are dependent on the final series.
With Jake Westbrook sidelined for the rest of the year, St. Louis will need a No. 4 starter for the NLDS if it reaches and wins the wild card game. Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter and Kyle Lohse occupy the first three spots. Lance Lynn and Garcia are also in the mix.
Garcia has allowed no more than three runs in his last four starts, including seven shutout innings against the Astros on September 25.