Cardinals rally for win after Wacha's spring debut

March 8th, 2016

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Anthony Garcia hit a go-ahead two-run homer, while Randal Grichuk, Matt Adams and Aledmys Diaz each doubled for the Cardinals in a 5-3 win over the split-squad Twins on Tuesday at Hammond Stadium.
Garcia, an outfielder who split time between Double-A Springfield and Triple-A Memphis last year, connected on a two-run blast off lefty reliever Logan Darnell in the sixth inning. It was the first homer in Grapefruit League play for St. Louis.
The Cardinals scored a run in the fifth on an RBI single from Diaz, who is one of three internal shortstop candidates, along with Jedd Gyorko and Greg Garcia, the Cardinals could consider as a replacement for Jhonny Peralta, who sustained a torn left thumb ligament on Saturday. Diaz, who has yet to reach the Majors, went 4-for-4 with two RBIs, including one in St. Louis' two-run ninth.
"We're just happy for him that he had a big day today when there is obvious more attention put on him and the position right now," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "I think that's an asterisk next to it that it wasn't just another Spring Training game. This was a day when he was put on the spot and we watched how he responded. I thought that was better than just 4-for-4 and driving some runs in."
Wacha unveils new cutter in first outing
Right-hander Michael Wacha made his first start of the spring for the Cardinals, allowing one run on two hits over two innings. The lone run he gave up came in the first, when Brian Dozier and Eduardo Escobar opened with consecutive singles before Joe Mauer grounded into a run-scoring double play.
Mauer later doubled off right-hander Luke Weaver in the fourth and came around to score on a sacrifice fly from Kennys Vargas.
Healthy Nolasco makes for interesting rotation decision
Right-hander Ricky Nolasco, who is competing for the final spot in Minnesota's rotation, started for the Twins and tossed three scoreless frames. He allowed three hits, including two doubles, but was helped by two double plays and four strikeouts.
"I was filling up the zone pretty good, but I need to get better command of my fastball," Nolasco said. "The ball is running a lot this spring, but I need to start it out a little farther away to get used to that."
Up next for the Cardinals: Right-hander Mike Leake, who signed a five-year deal with the Cardinals in December, will make his organizational debut on Wednesday when the Cardinals take on the Marlins in a 12:05 pm CT game, live on MLB.TV and Gameday Audio. Leake is expected to throw about 40 pitches in the outing. Catcher Yadier Molina, who is recovering from offseason thumb surgery, may draw his first spring start, though he would not take any swings.
Up next for the Twins: Left-hander Tommy Milone makes his second start of the spring for the Twins on Wednesday at 12:05 p.m. CT against a Phillies split squad at Hammond Stadium. Milone, competing for the final spot in the rotation, gave up one run in two innings his last time out. Closer Glen Perkins is also scheduled to see action.