ST. LOUIS – Jaime Garcia had enough on his mind without worrying about the opposing pitcher shutting down the St. Louis Cardinals.
After Kyle Kendrick threw a seven-hitter for his first career shutout in the Philadelphia Phillies' 4-0 victory Saturday night, Garcia just knew there was room for improvement.
"I wasn't able to make pitches when I needed to," Garcia said. "The sixth inning got away from me, but what can you do? You just learn from what happened and go out there next start and try to pitch a little better."
Kendrick's gem put the Phillies on the verge of their first four-game sweep in St. Louis since 1913.
"He made lots of pitches when he had to, had good movement, good sink and controlled the counts," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "That was Pitching 101."
Shane Victorino's RBI double in the fourth was the only support Kendrick (1-4) needed, and John Mayberry added a two-run double in a three-run sixth. Hunter Pence and Brian Schneider had two hits apiece for the Phillies, who have won four in a row.
Garcia (3-3) allowed four runs and six hits in six innings for the Cardinals, who swept a three-game series against the Padres before hitting the wall against the team they upset in the NL division series last fall.
"He wasn't as efficient as he'd like to be," Matheny said. "They did get timely hits when they needed them. You look at the line, it looks much worse than what he did."
David Freese had two singles and is 7 for 18 with two homers and four RBIs for St. Louis since returning from a two-game break to clear his head from a 3 for 34 slump.
The Cardinals were shut out for the first time at home and had few high points. Left fielder Matt Holliday's leaping catch at the wall to rob Jimmy Rollins of a leadoff homer in the first, and right-hander Chuckie Fick made his major league debut and allowed a hit in a scoreless ninth.
"My sister came in and waved at me in the bullpen while I was warming up," Fick said. "It was really cool. Not."
According to STATS LLC, the Phillies haven't swept a four-game series at St. Louis since Aug. 3-6, 1913. Their last three-game sweep in St. Louis is much more recent, from Aug. 1-3, 2006.
Kendrick entered with a 5.23 ERA and the Phillies were 1-9 in the games he pitched, five of them starts. But he's 5-1 against the Cardinals in eight games, all but two of them starts.
Kendrick needed just 94 pitches, 70 of them strikes, to throw his second career complete game and first since July 3, 2010, at Pittsburgh. He worked ahead in the count constantly, throwing first-pitch strikes to the first 13 batters, and had four strikeouts with no walks.
Kendrick pitched a season-high seven innings in his previous start, a 2-1 loss to the Nationals on May 21. He allowed three or fewer runs for the 14th time in 15 starts.
Philadelphia totaled just five runs while Kendrick was in the game his other five starts this season, an average of 1.67 runs that was the majors' worst with a minimum of five starts.
St. Louis got its first runner in scoring position when Tyler Greene doubled with two outs in the sixth. Kendrick escaped by getting Holliday to ground out.
Garcia retired seven of eight before the fourth, when Pence had a leadoff single and scored on Victorino's double to put the Phillies ahead.
Placido Polanco doubled to start the sixth and Garcia walked two of the next three hitters before Mayberry doubled down the third base line. Mayberry had been 3 for 22 with one RBI against St. Louis, but with all three hits and the RBI in six at-bats against Garcia.
"Guys were just taking pitches close in the strike zone," Garcia said. "I thought I made some good pitches but I had the late movement and it ended up being a ball.
"I don't really feel too bad about those walks because they were close pitches. When I needed to get a ground ball, Mayberry put a good swing on it."
In Garcia's previous two starts, he allowed three runs in 14 1-3 innings. He has worked six or more innings in eight of 10 starts.
NOTES: Cardinals SS Rafael Furcal and C Yadier Molina both got days off, along with Phillies C Carlos Ruiz. ... Victorino, who lost track of a flyball on Friday night, hasn't committed an error in 223 games. RF Pence blamed twilight for a pair of balls that dropped in the fourth, but Cardinals Matheny said none of his players have ever complained about visibility problems. ... Attendance of 44,476 was St. Louis' 10th sellout. ... The time of game was 2 hours, 26 minutes, the Cardinals' shortest this season by one minute.