PHILADELPHIA -- Two batters in, the Phillies had produced two soft outs and Jaime Garcia looked like the pitcher who had surrendered four runs in 19 1/3 innings over his first three starts.
"To be honest with you I felt good, was where I need to be," said Garcia.
Eight runs, nine hits and three innings later, that was his story and the lefty was sticking to it, much like Mike Matheny was doing.
"He started out like he normally does, good live action on the ball," said the Cardinals manager. "Usually even when he's up, the ball is moving abound and they don't hit him."
The Phillies, helped to four unearned runs by a two-out throwing error by third baseman Ty Wigginton, batted around in the first. And in a game shortened first by Roy Halladay, who retired 14 consecutive batters at one point, and then to 6 ½ innings by rain, the Phillies ended a four-game losing streak with an 8-2 over St. Louis at the expense of what was only the second time in the 16-game season the Cardinals failed to get five innings out of a starter.
When it rained, it poured. That applied both in the first, when a two-out walk to Chase Utley, an RBI double by John Mayberry, Wigginton's error, a triple by Ben Revere and a double up the left-center-field gap by Humberto Quintero put the game effectively out of reach, and in the top of the seventh, when Halladay finished up through the beginning of a storm.
To call it, the umpires waited only 35 minutes, which actually was not as long as the Phillies tried to wait out Halladay. He threw only 59 strikes among his 109 pitches, not always looking as dominating as his line score suggested.
"You know what, early he wasn't as sharp as he can be," said Matheny. "We had an opportunity to make a couple things happen but once he got on a roll, he is the caliber of pitcher who can stay on the roll for a while.
"He was working deeper counts, but we just weren't able to capitalize."
The only St. Louis runs came on solo homers by Carlos Beltran leading off the second, and Matt Holliday to start the seventh. In between, Halladay, who had struggled mightily in his first two starts this season after serving two stretches on the DL last season with shoulder issues, looked well on his way to resuming being Roy Halladay.
"I already looked at all my at-bats during the rain delay," said Wigginton, a teammate of Halladay's last season. "And I got one pitch to hit in three at-bats.
"He looked good. You see a lot of pitches at the knees on the outer corner. We got two hits in the game, so obviously he was doing something right."
Garcia, on the other hand, said he would try to figure out what he was doing wrong with pitching coach Derek Lilliquist.
"Maybe I tried to do too much with my offspeed pitch," Garcia said, but on the contrary, Mayberry drove a pitch that did very little.
Wigginton's error -- "I didn't rush it, just didn't get the grip I wanted," he said -- came after he dove to save Kevin Frandsen's smash from going down the third-base line.
"Yeah, it was a break but we took advantage of it," said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. Indeed the error was a floodgate opener, but Citizens Bank Park was raining cats and dogs as hitter after hitter tagged Garcia for reasons he said he couldn't fathom.
Just a bad night? If so, the Cardinals were allowed one from a starter. Until Friday, only Lance Lynn, in the fourth game of the season, had failed to make it five innings. This is consistency that can take the Cardinals deep into a pennant race even if their bullpen -- which by the way has put up five consecutive scoreless innings -- never fully overcomes the absence of closer Jason Motte.
"I know these guys expect to win every time they take the ball," said Matheny. "They will give us a quality start and a chance to win.
"Our success this year will be largely depending on our starters. Today was just a rough one. Next time, we expect to see the Jaime we have been seeing."
Jay Greenberg is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.