A week after self-destructing against the Rockies, St. Louis Cardinals ace Jaime Garcia showed no rust in dispatching the Chicago Cubs, allowing just one run in eight innings while striking out a batter an inning in the opening of the latest chapter of the Cardinals-Cubs rivalry. Lance Berkman and Albert Pujols homered for the Cardinals, who got six runs on nine hits, four of which went for extra bases. Ryan Dempster (4-5) took the loss for the Cubs, who fall to 23-32 on the season; outfielder Lou Montanez doubled in a run in the loss.
Garcia, who picked up his sixth win, lowered his ERA—which had hovered under two before the blow-up in Coors Field—to 3.05 with the performance, which was the fifth time in 12 attempts that he's thrown seven innings or more and allowed one run or less. At 3.94 he's nearly doubled the strikeout-to-walk ratio that led to his brilliant rookie season while maintaining the low home run rate that was the key to his success.
Saturday the Cardinals will send Kyle Lohse, making an early case for comeback pitcher of the year, out to the mound against Randy Wells.