Garcia takes loss as Cards blanked by Phils

Garcia takes loss as Cards blanked by Phils

Garcia takes loss as Cards blanked by Phils
ST. LOUIS -- There weren't many answers for the Cardinals on Saturday.

Jaime Garcia got hit hard during a three-run sixth inning and the Phillies' Kyle Kendrick befuddled the Cards' lineup with the first shutout of his career in his 104th start.

The end result for St. Louis was a 4-0 loss before a sellout crowd of 44,476 at Busch Stadium.

"Tough game for us," Garcia said. "Their pitcher did a great job. We'll try to go out there tomorrow and win a ballgame."

The Cardinals (25-22) have lost three straight and seven of their last 10 games. The Phillies (25-23) will go for the series sweep on Sunday.

Garcia, who entered the game with a 2-1 record and 1.20 ERA in 30 career innings against Philadelphia, was tagged for four earned runs on six hits in six innings. He struck out six and walked two in his 91-pitch outing, and fell to 3-3 with the loss.

"I wasn't able to make pitches when I needed to," Garcia said. "That sixth inning got away from me. What can you do? You just learn from what happened today and go out there in my next start and try to pitch a little better."

The left-hander was saved in the top of the first inning when Matt Holliday made a leaping grab at the left-field wall to rob Jimmy Rollins of a leadoff home run. But he allowed a run in the fourth after Hunter Pence's leadoff single and Shane Victorino's RBI double to the left-center gap and was undone by a three-run sixth.

Garcia allowed a leadoff double to Placido Polanco off the glove of third baseman David Freese, then walked two of the next three batters to load the bases. John Mayberry followed with a two-run double past Freese, and then Freddy Galvis made it 4-0 with an RBI groundout to shortstop.

"He wasn't as efficient as he'd like to be, but he still only had a couple walks and six hits spread out," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "But they did get timely hits when they needed them and got them when they counted. Overall, if you look at the line, it looks worse than what he did."

Kendrick (1-4) controlled the game by getting ahead of the St. Louis hitters and working down in the strike zone.

Kendrick threw 70 of his 94 pitches for strikes, including 26 first-pitch strikes to the 32 batters he faced, and had just one three-ball count -- against Tyler Greene in the ninth inning. He scattered seven hits over his nine innings and struck out four.

"He was good," Matheny said. "He made lots of pitches when he had to. He had good movement, good sink and controlled the counts. He didn't throw many balls outside the zone. The swings we took, we got a few hits, but just couldn't pile them together at the right time."

Among the few positives of the game was three scoreless innings of relief from right-handers Eduardo Sanchez and Chuckie Fick.

Sanchez, who was making his first appearance since giving up two runs on two hits in two-thirds of an inning at Los Angeles on May 19, tossed scoreless innings in the seventh and eighth. After walking Kendrick to open the seventh inning, the righty retired the next six batters he faced.

"It was very nice to see him," Matheny said. "It's been a long time. We needed to get him in there, and the situation didn't present itself [before Saturday]. A night like tonight obviously shows how we're going to use him. We're going to need him in big situations. The first inning, he was really kind of getting his feet back under himself. The second inning, I thought, was very, very impressive. He's got electric stuff, there's no question."

Fick, who was called up on Saturday, made his Major League debut in the ninth. He retired the first batter he faced, allowed a single then got the final two outs on a sacrifice bunt and a flyout to center field.

"I was more nervous my first outing in Spring Training this year, but it was surreal," Fick said. "It's the most amazing thing I've ever done."

Nate Latsch is a contributor for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.