PHOENIX -- Having already committed a pair of uncharacteristic throwing errors while subbing in at second base for a struggling Kolten Wong, Greg Garcia had big plans as he stepped to the plate in the seventh inning of a 2-2 game.
"Lance was picking me up, time after time," Garcia said, referring to starting pitcher Lance Lynn after the team's eventual 5-3 win over Arizona. "I knew he was coming out of the game [after six innings], and I wanted to do something to get him the win. In my head I'm like, 'I'm going to hit a home run.'"
There would be no home run in his future, but Garcia did open the inning with a single and proceeded to spark a three-run frame with his feet. Ready to be moved to second as pinch-hitter Peter Bourjos squared to bunt, Garcia, after advancing those 90 feet, astutely noticed that while three D-backs defenders -- the pitcher, catcher and third baseman -- descended on Bourjos' bunt, none retreated to cover third.
Garcia saw the opening and took off.
"It's one of those things that you have been taught since you were little, but it never comes up," said Garcia, who was recalled from Triple-A on Sunday. "It was going to be a tough throw for the guy -- you have to throw across the diamond -- and the guy is going to have to catch it on the run and tag on the run."
Garcia arrived at third along with catcher Welington Castillo, but slid in safely as Castillo couldn't cleanly receive the throw from first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. It was the first time, Garcia said, that he could recall going from first to third on a sacrifice.
"That's a game-changer," manager Mike Matheny said. "He gets a base hit, first of all, and figures out how to push the defense and make a good aggressive play. I think that's a great testament to the kind of player he is. He doesn't sulk. He's going to take advantage of whatever opportunity he gets."
Garcia jammed his right thumb as Castillo, in all his catching gear, landed on him, but remained in the game to score the go-ahead run on a Tommy Pham single. That positioned Lynn, who had pitched around Garcia's two errors, for win No. 10.
Garcia's first miscue had come in the second inning, when he overthrew first baseman Mark Reynolds while trying to complete a double play. Garcia then lost his footing on a fifth-inning throw that subsequently sailed into left field.
"I just can't say enough about Lance," Garcia said, "and the job he did to pick me up."
Garcia's thumb was swollen as he spoke postgame, but the Cardinals anticipate that ice will be the only treatment he needs. The club had no concern about any potential tear or significant sprain.
"It was precautionary," Garcia said of being replaced by Pete Kozma after the top of the seventh. "I went and threw in the tunnel [after scoring], and it hurt a little bit. They would rather nip it in the bud now and not let it linger."