ST. LOUIS -- All Justin Germano could do was watch, and count.
Germano made his Cubs debut Saturday night, called upon at the last minute when Matt Garza felt cramps after three innings. The new Cubs pitcher cruised through three innings, then St. Louis' David Freese opened the seventh with an infield single just out of the reach of third baseman Luis Valbuena.
Freese's hit ignited a 12-run seventh in which the Cardinals sent 17 batters to the plate, totaled 10 hits, including seven doubles, and all 12 runs en route to a 12-0 victory over the Cubs. Skip Schumaker drove in three runs on two hits, and Freese, Jon Jay and Matt Holliday each had two RBIs in the wacky inning.
"You look at their lineup and something like that -- not that extreme -- but that's a tough lineup to get through with the switch-hitters and the quality hitters they've got," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "That's why five doubles were down the right-field line, two doubles were down the left-field line. That's quality hitters.
"That's a tough lineup. If you don't keep the ball down and keep the ball inside, they'll eat you up."
Garza started, but was gone quickly as cramps in his right triceps forced him out of the game. That's when Germano got the call.
"I was not ready mentally or physically to get in there," Germano said. "[Garza] was throwing so well and cruising, and the phone rang [in the bullpen], and I didn't think anything of it. I saw Dale talk to the umpire, and I thought, 'I might be in there now.'"
And suddenly, he was.
After Freese's hit to kick off the seventh, Germano was pulled, and James Russell, who had a 2.31 ERA since the start of 2011, took over. Valbuena made a diving catch of Jay's infield popup, but that was the last Cubs highlight.
Pinch-hitter Allen Craig doubled into the left-field corner. The Cubs then pulled the infield in, and Freese scored on Rafael Furcal's single to left. Schumaker tripled to drive in two, and after Holliday walked, Carlos Beltran hit an RBI double. One out later, Russell departed, and Freese smacked a two-run double off Manuel Corpas, followed by Jay's two-run double, followed by Craig's RBI double.
And the Cardinals weren't finished. Furcal walked, Schumaker then hit an RBI double and Holliday added a two-run double.
The 12 runs and 10 hits were both season highs against the Cubs for a single inning. Unfortunately, it hasn't been that long since the Cubs gave up 12 runs in one inning. Flash back to July 30, 2010, against the Rockies. Colorado scored 12 runs on 13 hits in the eighth in a 17-2 win.
Before that game against the Rockies, the last time the Cubs gave up 12 runs in one inning was when Montreal scored a dozen on Sept. 24, 1985, in the eighth.
The Cardinals' seven doubles in the seventh tied a Major League record for most doubles in one inning, set Aug. 25, 1936, by the Boston Bees, in the first frame of a doubleheader.
"I'm a firm believer that hitting is contagious," Freese said. "Obviously, innings like that don't come around that often. When you can string hits together, it keeps the train moving, and a lot of the times it's how you get big innings because guys just stay focused and they keep pushing."
Garza, the focus of trade rumors, was pulled after he felt the cramping in his right triceps during the third inning, and he will be re-evaluated on Sunday. After the game, Garza tweeted, "Not a great night, I'll be alright ... I'm still a cubbie ... Just some cramping, crazy stuff ... Getting ready for 5 days from now. gocubsgo."
Said Sveum: "He just had a cramp in his triceps. It's one of those things you don't want to mess around with."
Germano (0-1), acquired Wednesday from the Red Sox for cash considerations, took the loss.
"It felt good just to get back out there," Germano said. "I was able to make pitches when I needed to and get myself out of the inning."
Just not the seventh inning.
"That swinging bunt [by Freese] started that whole rally," Germano said. "Luis made a good effort on it. It just happened so quick. That's a good hitting team, and whatever they were able to put in play found the hole."
"Russell's our setup guy, and he's gone a long four months without a hiccup like that," Sveum said. "Those things will happen. Unfortunately, it was in a 0-0 game and the inning started out with a little infield dribbler off Germano, and we got Jay [out] on a nice play on the bunt, and after that, we witnessed some pretty good hitting."
The Cubs' only real opportunity against Jake Westbrook (8-8) came in the first when they loaded the bases, but Geovany Soto grounded out to end the inning. Westbrook finished with five strikeouts over seven scoreless innings.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter@CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.