Garcia takes another tough-luck loss

Garcia takes another tough-luck loss

LOS ANGELES -- Jaime Garcia maintains a strict, yet simple, definition of success that has little room for silver linings and nothing to do with self. For the Cardinals lefty, the only appropriate barometer by which to measure a performance is the outcome that follows.

Which is why, after the Cardinals' 2-0 loss to the Dodgers on Saturday night, Garcia found little reason to pick out the good from his night. Had he tried, there would have been plenty. He matched Clayton Kershaw through six scoreless innings, only to be nicked for consecutive doubles -- one of which fill-in third baseman Pete Kozma later lamented not stopping -- and a single off the glove of diving second baseman Kolten Wong.

Prior to the seventh, Garcia had kept the Dodgers to three singles and without a runner in scoring position. He extended his scoreless-innings streak to 12 before the Dodgers did their damage.

"When [Garcia is] healthy, this is what he does," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "I'm not surprised. It would be nice to get him some run support, though."

And therein lies what has been the biggest issue for Garcia since his May return from the disabled list. The Cardinals have been shut out in three of his four starts. In two of those, his starting opponent -- Kershaw on Saturday, New York's Jacob deGrom on May 21 -- threw eight innings of one-hit ball.

Despite throwing seven innings and allowing no more than two runs in any of his three losses, Garcia took little consolation in the fact that he has kept his offense within striking distance each time out.

"We've lost," he said. "The most important thing is we have to win."

At some point, the Cardinals' offense is bound to hit behind him, which could perhaps accentuate just how valuable a piece Garcia has become in the rotation. Uncertain if and when Garcia would be able to move past shoulder issues and contribute this year, the Cardinals have, in Garcia, found not a stopgap, but a permanent fit for the fifth spot in the rotation.

For a team that already is without Adam Wainwright for the year and currently thin on starting-pitching depth, Garcia's reliability becomes even more crucial. And while he may not be satisfied with how he's pitching, those around him are.

"This was a tough one, but he answered the bell, in my opinion," Matheny said. "He kept us right in that game, to where it was who was going to flinch first. They had the ball get down the line just past Pete, that really was kind of the difference maker. But Jaime was very good."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.