The Cardinals’ starting pitching, which had posted a major league best 2.11 earned run average, took its first hit this year when veteran righthander Jake Westbrook was placed on the 15-day disabled list this morning with right elbow inflammation.

Westbrook, 2-1 with a 1.62 earned run average, will be replaced on the roster by lefthander John Gast, who has been purchased from Class AAA Memphis to start Tuesday here against the New York Mets.

Westbrook gave up nine hits and three earned runs in 5 1/3 innings in his last start Wednesday in Chicago. Righthander Jason Motte, who had been on the 15-day disabled list but will be out for the season, will be moved to the 60-day disabled list to make room for Gast on the 40-man roster.

Gast, the Cardinals’ minor league player of the month for April, is 3-1 with a 1.16 ERA over six starts in Memphis. The sixth-round draft pick out of Florida State University in 2010 began the season with a 32-inning scoreless streak.

GARCIA HAS TOUGH ACT TO FOLLOW

On the mound, Cardinals lefthander Jaime Garcia has a tall order to follow today against the Colorado Rockies, what with righthanders Shelby Miller and Adam Wainwright having throwing one-hit and two-hit shutouts, in succession. At bat, not so much. He has only to make contact.

“I’m excited to see (Garcia) top them,” said manager Mike Matheny. “He doesn’t have a lot of work (to do) to top them offensively.”

Miller, hitless for the season in 14 at-bats with 12 strikeouts, struck out four times in four plate appearances on Friday. Wainwright did the same on Sunday. Garcia hasn’t done anything at bat this year either, fanning eight times in 16 hitless at-bats, but his .250 average of last year would suggest better.

Cardinals starting pitching has had just six hits in 77 at-bats (.078) with 42 strikeouts.

As Garcia will have today, both Miller and Wainwright had two extra days of rest because of two scheduled off days for the Cardinals last week.