FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — Just being on the mound was good enough for Jaime Garcia. Tossing scoreless ball made it even better.
Making his first appearance since injuring his shoulder in the playoffs, the left-hander got through two shutout innings Tuesday as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Boston Red Sox 15-4.
In Game 2 of the NL division series against Washington, Garcia was pulled after two innings because of a strained rotator cuff and inflammation.
Garcia kept the Red Sox scoreless, working around three hits and a walk. He threw 43 pitches, 30 for strikes, and struck out two.
“I’m excited about today,” Garcia said. “This is good, but I’m not going to sit here and tell you this is the best I’ve ever felt. No. This is good. This is good enough. I’m excited about that. But compared to last year, this is something I can build on.”
Garcia gave up consecutive singles to Jackie Bradley Jr. and Daniel Nava to open the game before retiring the next three batters, including Ryan Lavarnway on a strikeout.
With one out in the second, Garcia walked Drew Sutton and gave up a double to Jose Iglesias before getting out of the inning, fanning Bradley to end the inning.
“To be honest with you, there was some excitement going on there especially because it was the first time in a real game after the stuff that happened last year,” Garcia said. “A lot of good things from it. Physically, I feel fine. A little jumpy at the beginning. I was happy with the way I felt physically, with the way it went.”
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny was pleased with what he saw from Garcia.
“I made a commitment to myself not to microscope him,” Matheny said. “I just know he’s going to be out there. He’s going to do the things that he says he’s going to be out there to do. He looked good today.”