Left-hander Jaime Garcia's problems on the road have been well documented. His earned run average on the road has been more than two runs higher than his ERA at home during his career (4.68 to 2.42), and, if typecast, Garcia was just what many people expected Monday night.
Garcia, after ducking out of first-inning trouble in San Diego when he got two strikeouts to strand the bases loaded, then surrendered two runs in each of the second and third innings, all scoring with two outs. Handed a 2-0 lead in the second by rookie shortstop Pete Kozma's triple, Kozma's first of three hits, Garcia gave up six hits and four runs in the next two innings and took an early shower as the Cardinals were clobbered by the Padres 11-3.
Since coming off the disabled list after he recovered from a shoulder problem, Garcia has a 0.00 ERA in two home starts covering 15 1/3 innings, and a 8.74 ERA in three road starts, covering only 14 1/3 innings.
"He had a rough time getting people out today," manager Mike Matheny said. "When he's got everything working, he can be unhittable. Other times, when he's making mistakes over the plate or up in the zone, those don't turn out as good."
Matheny, exasperated, said Garcia still would be his starter on Saturday in Los Angeles although he admitted he had considered adjusting his rotation to have Garcia pitch at home and not on the road.
Asked why Garcia would be so different on the road, Matheny said, "I have no idea. If I did, then we'd do something to fix it. There's not a good explanation. It's 60 feet, 6 inches. But you can't deny it's something he's struggling with.
"We try to do what we can do proactively. We're not just sitting on our hands and doing nothing. There's only so much we can do. There's no way to explain it.
"His stuff should play anywhere."
The Cardinals, whose lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers for the second wild-card spot in the National League shrank to one game, allowed 17 hits in absorbing the beatdown. But Garcia hasn't been the only starter having trouble on the road lately.
In their last 12 road games, counting a previous 10-game trip, no Cardinals starter has turned in a quality start.
In their last eight road games, the Cardinals have given up eight or more runs in five of them. They are 1-7 overall in those eight games.
The Cardinals had a shot in the seventh with the score 6-3, but left fielder Matt Holliday bounced into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded.