The plan has worked through one game.
The Cardinals will send Jaime Garcia(notes) to the mound Tuesday night at Great American Ball Park and can move into a virtual tie atop the division with a victory over the Reds, who counter with ace Johnny Cueto(notes).
St. Louis (62-49) used Skip Schumaker’s(notes) first career grand slam as part of a seven-run fourth inning Monday, and that cushion was more than enough for its ace. Chris Carpenter(notes) cruised through seven innings in a 7-3 victory that pulled the Cardinals within one game of the Reds (64-49).
“That’s the first time it’s happened in my career,” said Schumaker about his grand slam. “Everyone gets lucky once in a while. I probably hit it in the right park.”
Carpenter has won his last nine starts against the Reds, a streak that started in 2006.
A victory Tuesday would pull St. Louis even in terms of games, and give the Cardinals a better winning percentage than the Reds.
“It’s a good start,” Schumaker said.
The rotation has been juggled with Garcia (9-5, 2.53 ERA) following Carpenter, and 16-game winner Adam Wainwright(notes) pitching Wednesday afternoon. The Cardinals are 46-24 in games started by Carpenter, Garcia and Wainwright for the best mark by any three qualifying pitchers on one team in the majors.
The rookie left-hander enters after an ugly outing last Tuesday against Houston. He allowed a career-high eight runs - four earned - over five-plus innings in an 18-4 loss.
Garcia is 5-3 with a 3.12 ERA in 11 road starts this year.
The Reds will try to bounce back behind their best in Cueto (11-2, 3.24), who is 5-0 with a 1.55 ERA in his last eight outings. Cueto is 6-0 with a 2.47 ERA in 10 starts against division opponents this year, including 1-0 with a 3.75 ERA in three versus St. Louis.
The right-hander went 3-0 with a 2.39 ERA over five starts against the Cardinals before allowing a season-high eight runs over five-plus innings and not receiving a decision in a 9-8 victory June 1.
Cueto is 5-0 with a 3.58 ERA in his last eight home starts. He matched a career high with his 11th victory Wednesday, yielding one run in six innings of a 9-4 win at Pittsburgh.