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Jaime Garcia Tries To Stretch Cardinals Winning Streak To Eight

(Sports Network) - This current road trip for the Philadelphia Phillies has been a complete disaster and they'll try to regroup tonight in the third installment of a four-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals from Busch Stadium.

The Phillies have dropped three in a row and are 1-5 on an eight-game trek through Chicago and St. Louis. After losing three of four meetings with the Cubs at Wrigley Field, the Phillies have dropped the first two contests of this set in the Gateway City.

In Tuesday's 7-1 loss, Phillies starter Jamie Moyer pitched only one inning before being removed due to a left elbow strain. Moyer is expected to land on the disabled list and allowed two hits in the first before giving way to youngster Drew Carpenter, who absorbed the loss for yielding three runs and five hits in three innings. Carpenter was brought up from Triple-A Lehigh Valley after the club optioned starter Kyle Kendrick to the Iron Pigs yesterday afternoon.

Danys Baez also gave up three runs in relief, while Shane Victorino drove in the lone run for the Phillies, who are seven games behind Atlanta for the top spot on the NL East standings.

"We're positive, but it's hard to keep a lot of spirit," Phils manager Charlie Manuel said on the team's site. "It seems like we're always behind in the game, and we always have to try to come back. Every time we get somebody on base, I know that we're trying too hard to knock them in."

Placido Polanco and Jayson Werth both had two hits in defeat.

Phillies starter Joe Blanton has won his last two decisions but hasn't figured into the outcome in any of his last four starts. Blanton will take the mound tonight and hopes to build off a solid performance his last time out in a 4-3 road loss against the Chicago Cubs last Thursday.

Blanton lasted seven innings at Wrigley Field and allowed three runs on five hits and three walks while striking out eight batters. He remained at 3-5 in 14 starts and slightly lowered his ERA from 6.41 to 6.21.

The bulky right-hander, who is just 1-3 in seven road starts, lost to the Cardinals in his 2010 debut on May 3 in a 6-3 setback. Blanton gave up four runs and 10 hits in 6 2/3 innings, falling to 3-1 in four career starts against the Cardinals.

St. Louis has ripped off seven straight wins and hasn't won eight in a row since late in the 2004 campaign, when it was swept by the Boston Red Sox in the World Series.

The Cardinals, who lead the NL Central by a half-game ahead of Cincinnati, improved to 6-0 on their eight-game homestand versus the Dodgers and Phillies. They got another strong performance from ace Chris Carpenterlast night, as he delivered eight innings of one-run ball with four strikeouts.

"I had good command of my sinkerball near the bottom of the strike zone," said Carpenter. "I also threw some good curveballs and kept them off-balanced."

Matt Holliday connected on a three-run homer, while Randy Winn added a two-run shot in the victory. Winn also went deep in Monday's win in which the Cardinals belted four homers en route to an 8-4 victory. Since June 18th Holliday owns 11 homers and 31 RBI.

The Cardinals hope that Jaime Garcia can keep his promising season intact when he gets the call tonight. Garcia is 5-2 in his past seven decisions, but hasn't factored in the outcome over his previous two trips to the bump.

Garcia tossed just 3 1/3 innings in an 8-4 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers last Thursday and yielded two runs on eight hits with four strikeouts. He is 8-4 in 18 starts with a 2.27 ERA and 3-1 in eight outings at Busch Stadium.

The left-hander beat the Phillies back on May 3 at Citizens Bank Park with six innings of one-run ball and six K's in a 6-3 triumph. Garcia is 1-1 in three games (1 start) against Philadelphia.

The Phillies had a four-game winning streak in the Gateway City come to an end Monday night.