Bats back Garcia's splendid spring finish

Starter cruises through eight, fans eight; Cards erupt early, don't look back

Bats back Garcia's splendid spring finish

JUPITER, Fla. -- Facing a Nationals club that did not feature a player on Washington's 40-man roster, the Cardinals cruised to a 10-1 win on Wednesday in what was Jaime Garcia's final tuneup before he makes his season debut against the D-backs next week.

Garcia pitched eight innings and was staked to a nine-run lead just three frames into the contest. The Cardinals scored three times in the first, two of those runs coming on Allen Craig's RBI single. Consecutive RBI hits from Shane Robinson, Daniel Descalso and Matt Holliday in the second tacked on three more runs.

The Cardinals then sent eight batters to the plate in a three-run third that featured another run-scoring hit by Robinson. Several of St. Louis' starters were pulled from the game soon after; Robinson, Descalso, Pete Kozma and Ryan Jackson still finished with multi-hit games.

All nine of those runs, seven earned, were charged to Washington's Taylor Jordan, who is ranked by MLB.com as the organization's No. 17 prospect. Jordan, who threw 43 of his 62 pitches for strikes, allowed 10 hits and walked two.

Garcia was much sharper as he wrapped up his stellar spring. Even though he faced a Nationals starting lineup that had a combined 20 previous Grapefruit League at-bats this spring, Garcia became the first Cardinals starter to pitch past the sixth this spring. The lefty, who will start the Cardinals' second regular-season game, scattered six hits and limited Washington to one run. He struck out eight.

"It was a good one," Garcia said. "I was able to get close to 90 pitches [87] for the last start of spring. I'm right at a place where I need to be to start the season."

Washington's Jeff Mandel allowed just one run in his 2 2/3-innings relief appearance. Mike Crotta and Aaron Barrett each contributed a scoreless inning out of the 'pen.

Up next for the Cardinals: The Cardinals and Marlins will wrap up their eight-game spring series on Thursday with a 12:05 p.m. CT game at Roger Dean Stadium, and fans can watch for free on MLB.TV. Carlos Beltran, who is playing with a fractured right pinkie toe, is expected back in the lineup for St. Louis. Lance Lynn will make his final start before taking the mound against Arizona next Wednesday in the team's third game of the season.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.