July 11, 2008

Lohse wins 11th, Garcia makes ML debut, combo shutout of Bucs


Kyle Lohse, who some believe should have been named to the National League All-Star team, continued to roll through the innings, painting the corners and staying out of any significant jams.
Pitching seven complete, Lohse scattered six hits and walked only one Buc batter while striking out three. His record is now 11-2.


Lohse had plenty of offense, something that never materialized in the last three games in Philadelphia.


The bulk of the Redbirds' run came in the third. With two outs, Albert Pujols and Troy Glaus had back to back singles, followed by a Yadier Molina double that brought them both home. Molina took an extra base, scampering to third when the Pirates attempted to throw out Glaus at home. Rick Ankiel then got extended on a Zack Duke mistake pitch up, driving into the left-center field seats for a two run dinger, putting the Cards up 4-0.


Recently elected (by the players) All-Star Ryan Ludwick added to the Cards' lead in the fourth with a solo blast to left field.


Lohse kept the Pirates off balance through all of but one of his innings on the hill, running into trouble in the fifth when Xavier Nady, Adam LaRoche, and Jose Bautista hit back to back to back singles, loading the bases with one out. To get out of the jam, Lohse had to pick on Bucs' pitcher Duke, striking him out before Jack Wilson gave his heart a start with a line drive that found a perfectly positioned Cesar Izturis at shortstop.


Ankiel added a third RBI when he singled home Pujols in the seventh.


Up 6-0 after seven complete innings, manager Tony La Russa brought in recent call-up Jaime Garcia out of the bullpen. Garcia, a lefthander, was activated when Mark Mulder went on the DL. Before getting the call to join the Cardinals on this road trip, Garcia was about to join the World Team for participation the Futures Game, but once he hit the hill, he was no longer eligible to play on the prospect-filled Futures roster.


Garcia's first hitter, Ryan Doumit, singled. But Garcia then recorded his first strikeout, victimizing Jason Bay. The rookie hurler broke Xavier Nady's bat in two, then gloved his low-level popup. Adam LaRoche flew out to Ryan Ludwick in right, and Garcia showed well in his first major league inning.


Things weren't so easy for Garcia in the Pirates' ninth. The 22-year-old from Mexico found out how nerve-racking an inning can get, and in a hurry, when he threw eight straight balls, walking Jose Bautista, and then letting have second base on a wild pitch. Pitching coach Dave Duncan then got to witness the rookie work through the inning after self-imposing a potential jam. Garcia buckled down, striking out pinch-hitter Chris Gomez. Jack Wilson hit a line drive, but close enough for Skip Schumaker to snag in center field. All-Star Nate McClouth then popped out behind home plate to Yadier Molina to end the game.


Garcia pitched two complete innings, contributing to a the Cardinals win and strengthening the bullpen with a mixed performance of command, what appeared to be a loss of concentration, then a re-focusing on the demands of the inning batter by batter.


The Cardinals play the Pirates twice more before the All-Star break.


There is an outside chance that Lohse could still get a chance to participate, in the case where some of the chosen pitchers are pitching in the next couple of days, and wouldn't have enough rest to pitch again a couple or three days later at Yankee Stadium in the Midsummer Classic.


photo by Iscan