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Mike Matheny’s quick hook pays off as Cardinals even NLDS with Nationals

Oct 8, 2012, 8:29 PM EDT

Mike Matheny Getty Getty Images

UPDATE: Well, this adds a new wrinkle to Matheny’s decision. According to Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Jaime Garcia was pulled from the game because he aggravated a previous shoulder injury. He has been sent for an MRI.

8:13 PM: After being outmaneuvered by Davey Johnson in the Cardinals’ Game 1 loss to the Nationals yesterday, Mike Matheny made an interesting call in the bottom of the second inning this afternoon.

His starter, Jaime Garcia, labored over the first two innings, giving up one run on two hits and three walks while throwing 51 pitches. Meanwhile, the Cardinals had two runs home in the bottom of the second and the chance for more against Jordan Zimmermann, who was on the ropes. After the Cardinals squandered a number of scoring opportunities yesterday, Matheny wasn’t going to let it happen again, so he sent Skip Schumaker up as a pinch-hitter for Garcia. The Cardinals ended up scoring two more runs in the second inning and well, they never really stopped.

The Cardinals poured it on again Zimmermann and the Nationals, collecting 13 hits and four home runs as part of a 12-4 win. Carlos Beltran had a pair of home runs and drove in three while Daniel Descalso and Allen Craig added solo homers.

Lance Lynn wasn’t all that great in relief of Garcia, allowing back-to-back homers to Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche in the fifth inning, but he ate up three innings before handing the ball to the rest of the bullpen. Joe Kelly, Edward Mujica, Mitchell Boggs and Trevor Rosenthal then held the Nationals to just one run over the final four innings to lock down the victory.

The NLDS is now tied 1-1 and will resume Wednesday in Washington, D.C. for Game 3. Edwin Jackson, who was a member of the Cardinals’ World Series team last year, is scheduled to pitch for the Nationals while Chris Carpenter is expected to pitch for the defending champs.

  1. salvomania - Oct 8, 2012 at 8:19 PM

    His starter, Jaime Garcia, labored over the first two innings, giving up one run on two hits and three walks while throwing just 13 out of 28 pitches for strikes.

    No, Garcia did not throw 28 pitches over the first two innings, he threw 51 pitches (29 balls) over the first two innings, and went to five 3-2 counts, which is why he was removed while it was still a game.

    • D.J. Short - Oct 8, 2012 at 8:27 PM

      Whoops. Not sure what I was looking at there. Thank you for that!

  2. okwhitefalcon - Oct 8, 2012 at 8:27 PM

    From Cards beat writer Jeff Gordon’s twitter on Garcia:

    Jeff Gordon‏@gordoszone

    “Jaime Garcia aggravated his previously injured shoulder. Underwent a MRI today. That was why he got the quick hook from Matheny.”

  3. bgrubb - Oct 8, 2012 at 8:29 PM

    Matheny pinch hitting for his starter in the second, while holding the lead? Who does he think he is? Tony LaRussa?

  4. rs2driver - Oct 8, 2012 at 9:43 PM

    The Nats are dead. The pressure from the last month of trying to clinch and now in NLDS is causing their blunt skulls to collapse. You can see them unraveling. Booted balls, errant double clutching in the dirt throws for no reason(No. 11), bats gripped extra tight seemingly forgetting plan at the plate. Swinging at anything white. Edwin Jackson v. Carpenter in a playoff game???? The Nats are dead men walking.

    • dcfan4life - Oct 9, 2012 at 12:38 AM

      Did you miss how the Nats won game 1 with a pinch hit 2 run single with 2 outs in the 9th yesterday to win 3-2? Did you miss how the next 3 games are in Washington with the series tied 1-1? ya you must have thought this was game 1…

      • dcfan4life - Oct 9, 2012 at 12:39 AM

        i meant 8th inning.

      • wretchu - Oct 9, 2012 at 11:16 AM

        That had more to do with the Cardinals choking away opportunities than it did with the Nats winning the game. When you go 0-7 with RISP and get NOTHING with bases loaded, no out, that’s on the offense. They probably should’ve been up by 4 or 5 based on how wild Gonzalez was, but to only get 2 runs the entire game was a joke.

  5. materialman80 - Oct 9, 2012 at 11:41 AM

    The Nationals are a young club and a pounding like this could rattle them. I guess we will see. I was not thrilled about Matheny getting the job after Tony left, but I’m starting to have some confidence in him.

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