JUPITER, Fla. (AP) -Jaime Garcia kept up his bid for a spot in the St. Louis rotation, pitching six innings Monday as the Cardinals beat the Minnesota Twins 5-3.
Garcia gave up two runs and eight hits without a walk. Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said there probably would be an announcement about the starting staff.
``He knew what was at stake and he handled himself well,' La Russa said. ``He got a lot of balls on the ground and threw a good assortment of pitches.'
Garcia said the only thing he's been told is to keep doing what he's been doing.
``I've got a lot of family and friends and people all over Mexico congratulating me,' Garcia said. ``I'm telling them it's not over yet. They haven't told me anything.'
Garcia, a 23-year-old left-hander, will start the team's final exhibition game Saturday in Minnesota.
La Russa confirmed that Chris Carpenter will start opening day in Cincinnati.
Albert Pujols and Ryan Ludwick homered off Twins starter Kevin Slowey. Minor leaguer Daniel Descalso hit a two-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to win it.
Garcia entered Monday's game having allowed five hits in 12 2-3 innings. The Twins had six hits in the first three innings, including Brendan Harris' two-out, two-run triple. But Garcia was pleased with the number of groundball outs and no walks.
Garcia was 2-2 with a 2.87 ERA in eight minor league regular season starts last season after returning from elbow surgery. He had the surgery in during the summer of 2008 and missed almost a year. He was 1-1 with a 5.63 ERA in his first 10 big league appearances in 2008 before his season was cut short.
Kyle McClellan, who was in competition with Garcia and Rich Hill for the final rotation spot, has been a valuable member of the bullpen the last two seasons with a 3.73 ERA in 134 games. He can be used in the middle to late innings.
``That's where we need him,' manager Tony La Russa said. ``I just don't think we have enough depth.'
Said McClellan: ``It's pretty obvious with (Garcia) in our rotation it's going to be a very solid rotation. I can go back to the bullpen and improve on what I've done the last two years.'
The Associated Press News Service
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