ST. LOUIS — Rookie Jaime Garcia beat the Reds for the fourth time, halting the free-falling St. Louis Cardinals' five-game losing streak and ending Cincinnati's four-game run in a 3-2 victory on Friday night.
Brandon Phillips was booed on almost every pitch he faced and whenever he touched the ball in the field in his first game against St. Louis since his argument with catcher Yadier Molina precipitated a fracas in Cincinnati on Aug. 10. Some fans in the sellout crowd even convinced one spectator to toss a foul ball off Phillips' bat back onto the field.
The fan was escorted from his seat down the first base line shortly thereafter, high-fiving others as he walked up the ramp.
Major League Baseball assigned the same umpiring crew that worked the Aug. 10 game to a three-game series that lost dramatic punch with the Reds' surge and the Cardinals' slide. After the Cardinals swept that mid-August series to take a one-game lead in the NL Central, the Reds have raced to seven-game lead in the division.
St. Louis scored in consecutive innings for the first time in seven games, getting two in the first and one in the second for just enough cushion. Jon Jay had an RBI triple and Albert Pujols followed with a sacrifice fly in the first and Brendan Ryan singled, went to third on Garcia's double and scored on Skip Schumaker's groundout in the second.
The Cardinals are 11-5 against the Reds but only 32-29 overall against the Central. Cincinnati is 39-23 in the division.
Paul Janish homered with one out in the third to end Garcia's run of 22 2-3 innings without allowing an earned run. The 23-year-old left-hander also allowed Jonny Gomes' RBI double in the fourth and lasted 6 2-3 innings, plus added two hits off Bronson Arroyo (14-9).
Notes: Garcia's victory total is the most by a Cardinals rookie since Alan Benes won 13 in 1996. He's allowed three or fewer runs in 21 of 23 starts against the NL. ... Kyle Lohse (2-6, 7.12) was listed as the Cardinals' probable starter for Tuesday in the game notes, but manager Tony La Russa said he hadn't decided. ... Janish's homer was only the second allowed by Garcia in his last seven starts. ... Schumaker is batting .385 (15 for 39) against Arroyo after singling twice. ... Phillips made his first start since getting hit by a pitch Aug. 25. Since then he'd made three appearances as a pinch runner. ... Pujols is in an 0-for-16 slump.