Dustin Moseley was almost as good as Jaime Garcia.
While falling short of their first series sweep in St. Louis since 1980, the San Diego Padres found an arm they can count on in Sunday's 2-0 loss to the Cardinals. Moseley allowed one run on four hits in seven strong innings in his Padres debut, filling in for injured ace Mat Latos.
"He threw great," manager Bud Black said. "He's a guy as the season unfolds who could be very valuable to us in any role.
"He's got the versatility to start and the resiliency and the arm and the experience as a reliever if we need him there as well."
Garcia threw a four-hitter with a career-best nine strikeouts, moving beyond a shaky spring as the Cardinals avoided a season-opening three-game sweep at home.
Yadier Molina's RBI single up the middle off Moseley (0-1) in the fifth was the difference for St. Louis, which hasn't been swept by the Padres at home since 1980. San Diego missed a chance to open 3-0 for only the fourth time in franchise history and the first time since the 1984 team that went on to win the NL pennant.
"That was a good fastball away and he stayed on it enough," Moseley said. "I almost got to it and it got under my glove, and there's your run."
Latos, on the 15-day disabled list with a shoulder injury, is schedule to throw an extended simulated game on Monday in Arizona and a side session two days later. He could rejoin the rotation next weekend.
The 29-year-old Moseley was 4-4 last year for the Yankees, and like Garcia shook off a poor spring. Moseley was 0-2 with a 6.36 ERA in six games, including four starts.
"We had a good plan and we stuck with it and it worked out for me," Moseley said. "I was throwing everything for strikes, just mixing it up. You've got to, they've got a good lineup."
Garcia (1-0) walked two in his second career shutout and the majors' first this season, needing only 102 pitches in a game that lasted 2 hours, 3 minutes.
He struck out the side in the second against the 4-5-6 hitters. Starting with Chris Denorfia's double-play ball in the seventh, the left-hander retired his final eight hitters.
The Padres loaded the bases with one out in the sixth on two hits and a walk, including Moseley's first career hit, but Moseley was doubled off third on Ryan Ludwick's soft liner to third.
Ryan Theriot added an RBI single in the eighth off Luke Gregorson for St. Louis.
Garcia was third in NL Rookie of Year voting last season after going 13-8 with a 2.70 ERA. He was 1-3 with a 6.26 ERA in six starts in spring training, including a March 24 flop in which he yielded 14 hits and 10 runs in four innings against the Mets.
Lance Berkman singled to begin the fifth and advanced on a wild pitch and groundout before Molina stroked a single through the box, halting a 1-for-9 start. Berkman was the Cardinals' only runner in scoring position against Moseley.
The Padres' last sweep against the Cardinals was in 1995 in San Diego and they haven't beaten the Cardinals three straight since 2006. Their last season-opening sweep was a two-gamer in 1984 at home against the Pirates. They haven't opened the season with a three-game sweep since April 8-10, 1969, their inaugural season, at home against the Houston Astros.
NOTES: The game was the second-fastest at six-year-old Busch Stadium, trailing only a 3-1 Cardinals victory in 1:54 over the Pirates on Sept. 9, 2006. ... The Padres' 11-3 victory Saturday was their first time scoring in double digits at St. Louis since Aug. 29, 2001. ... Padres OF Eric Patterson, on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring, played outfield for the first time Sunday and LHP Joe Thatcher (shoulder) threw off a bullpen mound on Saturday.