Jaime Garcia is finally feeling like himself on the mound.
“I’m a guy who goes after guys and I got away from where I needed to be and I had some mechanical issues that I had to get rid of,” Garcia said. “The last couple of games my defense has been great and hopefully we can do that the rest of the way.”
Matt Carpenter and Jhonny Peralta homered to back up a second straight dominant start by Garcia as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Cincinnati Reds 3-2 on Wednesday night.
Garcia (9-8) needed just 85 pitches to get through 8-plus innings and 19 of his 24 outs were ground balls or strikeouts. The lefty has given up two runs in his last 16 innings.
“When I’m pitching my goal is to get quick outs and to get them to hit the ball on the ground and I was able to do that today,” Garcia said.
Shortstop Greg Garcia had nine putouts. Greg Garcia and Peralta, who played third, made back-to-back stellar defensive plays to get Jaime Garcia out of the eighth.
“Those ground balls, he had a lot early in the count,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny. “Guys thought they saw it and it would just dance out of the zone at the last second.”
Carpenter’s homer in the first inning was his second leadoff home run of the season and 11th of his career. It was also Carpenter’s second career homer against Reds starter Anthony DeScalfani.
Peralta’s solo homer in fourth was the 200th of his career. Peralta is hitting .345 in August.
Peralta didn’t know about the career milestone until teammate Matt Holliday told him.
“It was a surprise for me,” Peralta said. “I try to think in my mind like what’s close to me and everything, but yeah, Holliday surprised me.”
Seung-Hwan Oh earned his 10th save in 11 tries.
“He continues to impress us,” Matheny said. “Everything he does. The way he prepares, the way he competes and just the mix he is on our club. It’s nice to have him.”
DeSclafani (6-1) took his first loss of the season and in his career in five appearances against St. Louis. The three runs he gave up in five innings equaled the three total he gave up in his three previous starts against the Cardinals spanning 19 innings.
Eugenio Suarez’s solo homer in the fourth for the Reds was his first since July 25.
Red manager Bryan Price tipped his cap to Jaime Garcia.
“We’ve seen him really, really good in the past; we’ve seen him other times where he’s a little more vulnerable with his command and up in the zone, but tonight wasn’t one of those nights,” Price said. “There wasn’t much there and Anthony certainly wasn’t on top of his game and still was able to go out there and be able to compete and keep it close. We just weren’t able to do much with Garcia.”