Following yet another outstanding start at home, Matt Garza hopes to carry that success out onto the road this evening when the Chicago Cubs continue a three-game series versus the St. Louis Cardinals.
Garza has allowed three earned runs or fewer in 18 straight outings at Wrigley Field, going 3-1 with a 2.12 earned run average in seven games this season. His most recent outing came on Sunday against the visiting Diamondbacks and he hurled seven scoreless frames in a win, scattering five hits and a walk while striking out seven.
With the victory, the right-hander improved to 5-7 with a 4.02 ERA in 17 outings on the year.
"I felt good today," remarked Garza. "I was able to stay in my mechanics real well and when I didn't I was able to catch myself and adjust quick."
Garza, though, is just 2-6 with a 5.67 ERA in 10 road outings this season.
The 28-year-old faced the Cardinals at home on April 23, allowing two runs over seven innings. He is 2-1 with a 4.66 ERA in five lifetime meetings with St. Louis, but has allowed 12 earned runs over 10 innings in two starts at Busch Stadium.
For the Cardinals, Jake Westbrook aims to avoid a third straight loss as he was charged with four runs for the second time in three starts on Sunday at Cincinnati. Those runs came on nine hits and a walk, but the righty did manage to last 7 1/3 frames.
Still, Westbrook fell below .500 on the season at 7-8 with a 3.82 ERA through 18 outings.
Westbrook, 34, did beat the Cubs at home back on April 15, but struggled in a rematch on May 14. He gave up four runs on a season-high 12 hits in five innings, falling to 4-2 with a 4.89 ERA in seven career encounters.
Ryan Dempster drew the start for the Cubs in last night's opener, carrying a 33-inning scoreless streak into the outing. However, the Cardinals scored three runs in the first to quickly end that run and Matt Holliday added a solo homer in the third for a 4-1 victory.
"It just went far, it was a far homer," Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano said of Holliday's shot. "He hit it very well. When I looked over my head, it was almost out of the ballpark."
Kyle Lohse won his 10th game with seven innings of one-run ball, scattering six hits and a walk.
"When you can go out there less than your best and get through seven (innings) and give your team a chance, for me, it just shows that I have an idea of what I'm trying to do out there," Lohse said.
While the Cardinals won for just the second time in seven games, the Cubs had won seven of nine coming in. However, Dempster took the loss in a six-inning outing to snap his six-start win streak.
The Cardinals own a slight 5-4 lead over the Cubs in the 2012 series.