Jaime Garcia NL Player of the Week

Jaime Garcia pitched one of the best season openers of 2011 on Sunday, leading to an early award for the St. Louis left-hander.

Garcia and Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro were named co-winners of the National League Player of the Week Award, the league announced on Monday.

Garcia, who finished third in the 2010 NL Rookie of the Year voting, tossed a four-hitter against the Padres on April 3 to earn a 2-0 win at Busch Stadium. The 24-year-old lefty faced only four batters over the minimum, throwing 102 pitches while striking out nine.

He also walked only two.

Through the first three games of the season, Castro was leading the Majors with a .615 (8-for-13) batting average and a .643 on-base percentage. He also led the NL with a 1.000 slugging percentage and 13 total bases.

In Sunday’s series finale against the Pirates, Castro went 3-for-4 with two triples, marking his third multi-hit performance in as many games.

This marks the first career NL Player of the Week Award for both Castro and Garcia.

Castro and Garcia weren’t the only players in MLB’s Central divisions to be honored this week, as White Sox outfielder Carlos Quentin was named the American League winner.

Cash Kruth

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