(CHRIS LEE ~ St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
The Cardinals had 11 hits but were 2 for 14 with runners in scoring position and stranded 13 runners in Sunday's 3-2 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers, costing them a three-game sweep.
"When the opportunities knock, you've got to come through," said David Freese, who struck out for the third time in the ninth inning. "I know it's early, but they all count. It was a rough day, for sure."
The Cardinals had two runners on base in four of Zack Greinke's six innings but scored just one run. Jonathan Lucroy's two-run double capped a three-run sixth, Garcia's only tough inning on the mound.
Garcia (2-1) also bunted into a fielder's choice in the second with a chance to put runners on second and third ahead of Rafael Furcal's RBI single. St. Louis missed a chance to make it 2-0 with one out in the fifth when Garcia failed to tag up on Matt Holliday's routine flyout to medium center, a certain sacrifice fly. Garcia instead broke for home on the play, retreated and ended up stranded at third.
"In the major leagues, when you do that, it's going to cost you a game," Garcia said.
Greinke (3-1) allowed a run on seven hits to help stop the Brewers' six-game road losing streak. He's 2-1 with a 2.11 ERA in four career games in St. Louis. He pitched a lot better than in his only other road start this year, when he surrendered eight runs in 3 2/3 innings to the Chicago Cubs on April 12.
John Axford escaped an eventful ninth for his fifth save in five chances and 48th consecutive, breaking a tie with Brad Lidge for the fourth-longest string in major league history.
The Cardinals had men on first and third with none out before Axford struck out Freese on a full count. The runners then got hung up on Yadier Molina's strikeout, with Tyler Greene an easy out at the plate.
(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Asked how it should have gone, he answered, "Different."
The Brewers took the lead with a four-hit, three-run sixth. Aramis Ramirez had an RBI single to tie it and Lucroy, who had been 3 for 17 with runners in scoring position, made it a two-run cushion.
Matheny showed faith in Garcia when he pulled back a pinch hitter with two outs and one on in the sixth, and Garcia singled for the second consecutive at-bat. Rafael Furcal flied out to end the threat.
Garcia had a season-high six strikeouts in seven innings, his third consecutive start of seven innings or more.
Kameron Loe got Molina, who had been 7 for 11 in the series, with two on to end the seventh. The Cardinals cut the gap to a run when Matt Carpenter doubled off Francisco Rodriguez to start the eighth and scored on pinch-hitter Daniel Descalso's groundout.
* The Cardinals have the day off today. Adam Wainwright (0-3, 7.32) will try to build on his first strong outing of the year Tuesday when the Cardinals and Pirates begin a three-game series. Wainwright allowed one run in six innings his last start against the Cubs.
* Attendance of 45,824 was the fourth sellout in nine home games.
* Adam Wainwright (0-3, 7.32) will try to build on his first strong outing of the year Tuesday when the Cardinals and Pirates begin a three-game series. Wainwright allowed one run in six innings his last start against the Cubs.