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ST. LOUIS -- A dropped pop fly helped spoil Jaime Garcia's shutout in the eighth inning.
The 24-year-old left-hander refused to let it ruin the St. Louis Cardinals' night.
Garcia buckled down after allowing an unearned run that helped the Philadelphia Phillies tie it, setting the stage for Lance Berkman's bases-loaded single lined over a drawn-in outfield in the ninth of a 2-1 victory Tuesday night.
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"After the error, you know what, I was locked in," Garcia said. "Nothing affected me. I would say every time I go out there I get better and better mentally."
Garcia is 5-0 with a 1.64 ERA, tying for the National League lead, and has permitted only one earned run on 15 hits in 31 innings at home. Fernando Salas (2-0) had a strikeout in a perfect ninth before Berkman took Greene and a lineup that stranded a season-high 14 runners off the hook.
Nick Punto would have been La Russa's choice as defensive replacement, but was unavailable to play the field because of a sore elbow.
"I never felt so relieved for Berkman to get that hit," Greene said. "I came up to him, gave him a big hug."
The Phillies' Roy Oswalt worked five efficient innings in his first start off the 15-day disabled list for lower back inflammation, allowing one run on seven hits with three strikeouts and a walk. Berkman faced his former longtime Astros teammate for the first time and had a single and a walk in two trips.
"That wasn't that great of a hit. Roy's got good stuff, I was impressed," Berkman said.
Oswalt seemed fairly satisfied, but had wanted to pitch one more inning. Oswalt's velocity was down in his lone rehab start, although Monday he said the mph was overblown.
"A few two-out hits hurt me," Oswalt said. "Overall, my velocity was a little bit better. Strength-wise was a little bit better."
The Phillies became the last team in the majors to lose three in a row Monday and have totaled seven runs on 17 hits during their first four-game losing streak since last Aug. 23-26. Ryan Howard was 0 for 4 and struck out his last three at-bats against Garcia, failing to reach base safely for the first time in 23 career games in his hometown.
"We've got some guys up there, maybe they want it too bad," manager Charlie Manuel said. "It's pretty tough right now for us. We'll be all right, we'll stay in there and hang in there. We'll fight."
Berkman walked with one out in the fourth and scored on a close play at the plate. Third base coach Jose Oquendo was aggressive and sent him home on Yadier Molina's single to shallow left, and Berkman's hook slide barely eluded catcher Dane Sardinha's tag after an off-line throw from John Mayberry Jr.
Ryan Theriot, Jon Jay and Albert Pujols opened the ninth with three straight singles off Danys Baez (1-2) - Jay on a broken bat and Pujols on a flare that plopped into right field barely out of the reach of second baseman Pete Orr. Matt Holliday, in an 0-for-13 slump, grounded into a forceout at the plate with the infield in before Berkman lined J.C. Romero's first pitch over the head of center fielder Mike Martinez to get the mini-sweep.
"You're facing Cliff Lee and Roy Oswalt, that's a pretty daunting task," Berkman said. "You figure if you can get one of those, you'll feel pretty good about ourselves and because of Jaime we were able to get both of them."
Phillies rookie reliever Michael Stutes threw three pitches to open the sixth before leaving with a strained muscle, and Stutes said he had pain in the middle of his back. Stutes fell behind 3-0 to Berkman before looking to the dugout for help and pointing at his right shoulder.
|The Cardinals swarm Lance Berkman, who delivers a game-winning single for his 35th RBI of the season. (Getty Images)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Jimmy Rollins, SS||4||1||0||0||0||0||2||.269|
|Michael Martinez, CF||4||0||2||0||0||1||0||.241|
|Placido Polanco, 3B||3||0||1||1||0||0||0||.338|
|Ryan Howard, 1B||4||0||0||0||0||3||3||.252|
|John Mayberry Jr., LF||4||0||1||0||0||0||1||.269|
|Ben Francisco, RF||4||0||0||0||0||0||1||.218|
|Wilson Valdez, 2B||3||0||1||0||0||0||1||.234|
|a- Pete Orr, PH-2B||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.241|
|Dane Sardinha, C||2||0||0||0||1||0||1||.176|
|Antonio Bastardo, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Danys Baez, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|J.C. Romero, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Roy Oswalt, P||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.091|
|Michael Stutes, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Kyle Kendrick, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.333|
|b- Carlos Ruiz, PH-C||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.208|
|a-struck out for Valdez in the 9th|
|b-grounded out for Kendrick in the 8th|
|2B - Wilson Valdez (6, Garcia)|
|SF - Placido Polanco (5)|
|SH - Roy Oswalt (1)|
|RBI - Placido Polanco (25)|
|SB - John Mayberry Jr. (4, 2nd base off Garcia/Molina)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|DP - Rollins-Valdez-Howard|
|Danys Baez (L,1-2)||0.1||3||1||1||0||0||0||4.41|
|IBB - Descalso by Kyle Kendrick|
|Pitches-Strikes - Roy Oswalt 76-48, Michael Stutes 3-0, Kyle Kendrick 24-15, Antonio Bastardo 21-14, Danys Baez 13-8, J.C. Romero 1-1|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Roy Oswalt 7-4, Kyle Kendrick 4-2, Antonio Bastardo 1-0, Danys Baez 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Roy Oswalt 22, Michael Stutes 1, Kyle Kendrick 8, Antonio Bastardo 5, Danys Baez 4, J.C. Romero 1|
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|Ryan Theriot, SS||5||0||2||0||0||0||0||.299|
|Jon Jay, CF||5||1||2||0||0||1||0||.309|
|Albert Pujols, 1B||5||0||3||0||0||1||1||.269|
|Matt Holliday, LF||5||0||0||0||0||0||5||.360|
|Lance Berkman, RF||3||1||2||1||2||0||0||.352|
|Allen Craig, 2B||3||0||1||0||0||0||1||.269|
|Tyler Greene, 2B||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.236|
|Yadier Molina, C||4||0||3||1||0||0||1||.310|
|Daniel Descalso, 3B||2||0||0||0||2||0||3||.217|
|Jaime Garcia, P||3||0||0||0||0||1||4||.091|
|a- Nick Punto, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||2||.262|
|Fernando Salas, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-struck out for Garcia in the 8th|
|2B - Albert Pujols (4, Oswalt), Yadier Molina (10, Bastardo)|
|RBI - Lance Berkman (35), Yadier Molina (18)|
|Team LOB - 14|
|E - Tyler Greene (3, Dropped fly)|
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|Fernando Salas (W,2-0)||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||1.02|
|Pitches-Strikes - Jaime Garcia 103-70, Fernando Salas 14-9|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jaime Garcia 8-12, Fernando Salas 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Jaime Garcia 31, Fernando Salas 3|
|Attendance - 34567|
|Game Time - 2:44|
|Temperature - 61|
|Umpires - Home - Wally Bell, First Base - Greg Gibson, Second Base - Todd Tichenor, Third Base - Gerry Davis|