Cards Gast shines in major league debut -

Cards Gast shines in major league debut

by Scott Bierman / BaseballStL

(BaseballStL) -- It may not have been a ‘quality start’ by the standard rule, but John Gast gave the St. Louis Cardinals more than enough in his major league debut, a 10-4 win over the New York Mets on Tuesday.

Gast recorded his first strikeout, a three-pitch K, to the game’s first batter, Justin Turner, before realizing his childhood dream was now a reality.

“Maybe when I came in the dugout after the first inning it kind of hit me,” Gast said. “It was more just excitement. I was just able to refocus that adrenaline to making my pitches.”

He would need only 50 pitches, including 36 strikes, to get through five scoreless innings to start his big league career.

“They were just putting the fastball in play,” Gast said. “Just showing them I can throw the strikes and that makes me a little more aggressive, I guess.”

The effectiveness came as a surprise to Mike Matheny, who wanted to give him a simple game plan in his debut.

“His last couple starts he wasn’t that efficient, so no, it wasn’t what I expected, but once he started going you could see he was making good pitches inside jamming (the batters),” Matheny said. “He had them cautious about his change-up and never really got a breaking ball going the whole night and still was effective.

“We got to the point where he hit a little spot, but he worked through it.”

The ‘little spot’ came in the sixth inning, which would be his last inning of work.

With one out in the sixth, Gast allowed the Mets to score their first run of the game after three consecutive batters reached base on two hits and a walk. Another runner would score on a ground out before Marlon Byrd launched an 0-1 pitch over the visiting bullpen for two runs.

The 21-pitch inning wasn’t a result of any fatigue for the rookie though.

“Maybe got sped up a little bit and got caught up with having runners here and there and all over the place kind of thing,” he said.

Despite allowing the four runs, the Cardinals still had a five-run lead before adding another run in the bottom half of the inning for the 10-4 lead. It was enough to give Gast his first career win and the first for Cardinals rookie in his major league debut at home since Jason Simontacchi in 2004.

The start also marked the first time a left-hander debuted as a starter for the Cardinals since newly added Mets outfielder Rick Ankiel debuted as a then-pitcher in 1999, and the first time the team had multiple lefties in the rotation since 2008 (Jaime Garcia and Mark Mulder).

Prior to his call-up with the Cardinals, Gast posted a 3-1 record with a Pacific Coast League-leading 1.16 earned run average in seven games with Triple-A Memphis. He was named the Minor League Pitcher of the Month in April for the Cardinals after not allowing a run in five starts while going 3-0.

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