Garcia exits strong outing with groin cramp

Lefty plans to be ready for next start after limping off in 8th

Garcia exits strong outing with groin cramp

MIAMI -- Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia pitched a gem in the Cardinals' 6-1 win against the Marlins, but he didn't leave the contest unharmed.

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Though the lefty allowed just one run on five hits and 90 pitches in seven innings, Garcia (3-3, 1.69 ERA) came up hobbling while running the bases in the top of the eighth. Originally planning to return for the bottom of the inning, he was removed with what he called a cramp in the left groin area.

"Something grabbed me there," Garcia said. "We'll see how it feels, and it should be OK, hopefully."

Garcia on groin cramp

He said he anticipates being ready for his next start, and while Garcia didn't admit to it, manager Mike Matheny said the cramp began earlier in the game.

"He had a cramp and felt it apparently a couple innings before, when he was pitching, and failed to mention it," Matheny said.

After reaching base on an eighth-inning single and moving to second on Kolten Wong's single, Garcia came around to score on Matt Carpenter's single to left to put St. Louis up, 6-1. However, halfway down the third-base line, he hobbled the rest of the way home and limped into the dugout.

It ended his strong outing in which he struck out five and only allowed one run on Giancarlo Stanton's second-inning homer.

"He was terrific," Matheny said. "He gave up a couple hard-hit balls -- obviously the one with Stanton -- but he really limited the damage. You could tell with the kind of ground balls that he was getting how much movement he had today."

Garcia superb before injury exit

Garcia has been on a roll in seven starts this season, having gone at least six innings in each while allowing three earned runs or fewer. He also upped his scoreless-innings streak to 15 before Stanton ended it in the second.

His offense -- which was shut out in three of his first six starts -- supplied the 28-year-old with more than enough runs.

"Jaime's been pitching his butt off for us," said Wong, who hit a two-run homer. "It's good to repay him for how he's been doing for us and keeping us in ballgames for seven-plus innings."

Steve Wilaj is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.