National League Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, April 10th (All times eastern)
St. Louis Cardinals (3-1) at Milwaukee Brewers (2-2), 3:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: St. Louis - Jaime Garcia (0-0, 0.00) Milwaukee - Yovani Gallardo (0-1, 3.86)
(Sports Network) - The Milwaukee Brewers will be out to avenge a painful loss to the St. Louis Cardinals from the previous night when the two National League Central members square off again this afternoon at Miller Park.
The Brewers were one strike away from taking Friday's opener of this three- game early-season set, but St. Louis' Nick Stavinoha belted a pinch-hit two- run homer off Trevor Hoffman in the top of the ninth inning that lifted the Cardinals to an improbable 5-4 win.
Making his first plate appearance of the season, Stavinoha took a 1-2 changeup from Hoffman over the left field wall to give St. Louis a one-run lead. The blast scored Colby Rasmus, who had drawn a walk off Hoffman to start the inning.
"It was about as tough as an at-bat as it gets for the first at-bat of the season," said Cardinals manager Tony La Russa. "But [Stavinoha's] got a reputation of tough at-bats throughout our system. I told him he was going to hit in the ninth."
Ryan Franklin held the Brewers scoreless in the bottom of the ninth to preserve St. Louis' third win in four games to start the year.
Matt Holliday also homered for the Cardinals, smacking a two-run shot in the sixth that pulled his team within 4-3, and finished 3-for-4 on the night.
Alcides Escobar went 2-for-4 with a two-run double for Milwaukee, which had won two in a row following an Opening Day loss to Colorado. Starting pitcher Dave Bush was in line for the victory after permitting three runs and striking out six over the first 5 2/3 innings.
The Brewers will turn to ace Yovani Gallardo in hopes of bouncing back this afternoon. The talented right-hander was able to work seven innings in his first career Opening Day assignment, but was outpitched by Colorado's Ubaldo Jimenez in a 5-3 loss to the Rockies last Monday at Miller Park.
Gallardo was reached for four runs (3 earned) on seven hits in the game and threw only 62-of-110 pitches for strikes. He did record five strikeouts while issuing a pair of walks on the afternoon.
The 24-year-old will be out to improve upon a shaky past history against the Cardinals. Gallardo has yet to notch a win in four previous encounters with St. Louis, going 0-2 with a 5.70 ERA in those outings. However, he did give up only four runs in a 13-inning span over two starts in this series last season, despite posting a loss and a no-decision.
The Cardinals hand the ball to Jaime Garcia this afternoon for the promising propect's first regular-season appearance of 2010. The young lefty had been ticketed for Triple-A prior to the start of spring training, but wound up winning the team's final rotation spot with an outstanding camp.
Garcia pitched in 10 games -- including one start -- for St. Louis in 2008 but spent most of last season recovering from Tommy John surgery in the minors. He came back strong in the spring, however, and was chosen to be the No. 5 starter after recording a 3.00 ERA and displaying good command in six Grapefruit League tests.
The 23-year-old, who sports a 5.63 ERA over 16 career innings in the majors, did face the Brewers once in relief in 2008, but was tagged for three runs and walked two in only one frame of work.
Friday's win was the Cardinals' fifth straight at Miller Park and eighth in the past nine games as the visitor in this series. Milwaukee is still 16-11 over its last 27 overall meetings with St. Louis, however.
04/10 10:45:36 ET