Garcia tosses gem, Cardinals win series.

St. Louis Cardinals’ rookie left-handed pitcher, Jamie Garcia threw his first career complete game shut-out Sunday afternoon at Busch Stadium vs. the San Francisco Giants. Cardinals 9, Giants 0.

St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina (L) gives starting pitcher Jaime Garcia a hug after a 9-0 win and a complete game pitched against the San Francisco Giants at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on August 22, 2010. Garcia allowed three hits and struck out six.   UPI/Bill Greenblatt Photo via Newscom

St. Louis kept pace with the Cincinnati Reds in the NL Central (3.5 GB), and are now second behind Philadelphia (2 GB) in the Wild Card Standings.

The Cardinal offense came to life early.  Barry Zito only made it though 3 2/3 innings, giving out five runs on seven hits. Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday and Felipe Lopez each had an RBI in the third.

It was a big day for Brendan Ryan who went (2-4) with a RBI batting lead-off.  Jon Jay played center field in place of Colby Rasmus who’s nursing a sore calf.  Jay continues to swing a red-hot bat clubbing three base-hits and a two-out RBI.

St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Jaime Garcia delivers a pitch to the San Francisco Giants in the first inning at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on August 22, 2010.   UPI/Bill Greenblatt Photo via Newscom

St. Louis had 15 hits in total against Giant pitching, but Sunday’s storyline goes to Jamie Garcia.

The rookie left-handed pitcher faced one over the minimum, for a three-hit complete game shutout.

The 89-pitch gem was the first CG shutout by a Cardinal lefty since Mark Mulder in 2005.

Garcia improved to (11-6) and his ERA dropped to 2.42.

Garcia had never pitched in to the eighth inning before in his career, and St. Louis fans knew it.

When he came to plate in the bottom of the eighth to hit, Garcia received a standing ovation from the Cardinal faithful.

St. Louis Cardinals stand to give starting pitcher Jaime Garcia a standing ovation as he bats in the eighth inning against the San Francisco Giants at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on August 22, 2010. Garcia allowed three hits and struck out six in a 9-0 complete game win.   UPI/Bill Greenblatt Photo via Newscom

“It’s a great feeling when I was hitting and all the people were standing, and when I was on the mound,” Garcia said.  ”I think this is the greatest day of my baseball career.”

Optimism surrounds the team once again, and this outing has people around the league talking about the rookie.  If Jamie Garcia keeps this up, his name should be in contention for the National League Rookie of the Year.

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