What a performance Cardinals’ ace Adam Wainwright gave the sellout crowd of Busch Stadium Saturday afternoon in the Cardinals’ 8-0 win over Milwaukee.
“This is towards the top,” Wainwright said. “It is always fun to pitch a complete game shutout. I have done it against the Brewers, I feel a couple times now. I don’t know what it is about that team, but I think they make me focus more. They have some guys that are really dangerous and I am fortunate to do it against a great team like that, especially here at home.”
Wainwright matched his career high with 12 strikeouts as he threw the Cardinals’ third consecutive shutout. The St. Louis pitching staff is currently riding a streak of 32 scoreless innings. The last time anyone scored against the Cardinals was during the 4th inning of Tuesday’s 5-1 win over Cincinnati.
“We have some great arms,” Wainwright said. “I think we are seeing that now and the world is seeing that now, but we have to make sure we keep it right there and don’t get complacent and don’t get cocky.”
But Wainwright wasn’t just dominant on the mound, he was a threat at the plate too, going 3-for-3 and driving in two. The hits were his first of the year as were the RBIs.
“I feel kind of right now like it was a high school game,” Wainwright said. “I used to be able to hit a little bit, so it is nice every now and then to put a good swing on the ball. It was pretty fun, it was a fun game.”
The Cardinals’ ace retired the first 10 batters he faced before allowing a base hit to Milwaukee shortstop Jean Segura. Wainwright walked none and allowed just 4 hits while throwing his fifth career complete game shutout.
“Something I say to myself before every game is no free passes,” Wainwright said. “The lessons I learned in 2011 are still sticking with me. I just felt like when I was watching games, I just really tried to keep track of the walks and why guys were scoring. It seemed like if you didn’t walk anyone, no one hardly ever scored.”
St. Louis skipper Mike Matheny was impressed with his starting pitcher’s performance.
“That was very impressive,” Matheny said. “He didn’t really catch any tendencies either. He was mixing it up well. He was showing them a different look almost every time up there. He was finishing guys different. He wasn’t relying on one particular pitch, he was using them all to both sides. It was just - it was exactly how you design pitching, it was very impressive.”
Page 2 of 3 - Milwaukee’s Yovani Gallardo was perfect for the first two innings, but in the bottom of the third, David Freese led off with a double. After moving to third on a wild pitch, Freese was unable to score on a Daniel Descalso ground out, but Freese didn’t stay on third long as Wainwright picked up his first hit of the year, an RBI single that scored and gave the Cardinals a 1-0 lead.
The next fourth and fifth innings were relatively quite as the Cardinals had just one hit, a single by Carlos Beltran.
In the bottom of the sixth, St. Louis broke the game open. The Cardinals sent 12 batters to the plate and scored seven times.
Wainwright led off the sixth with his second hit of the game. Jon Jay singled behind Wainwright and Matt Carpenter was hit by a pitch to load the bases with Matt Holliday coming to bat. Holliday singled, scoring Wainwright and Jay. After Beltran flew out for the first out of the inning, Allen Craig singled scoring Carpenter.
“He has great stuff, always has,” Matheny said of Gallardo. “The guys just seemed to put together some pretty tough at bats. When our offense is going right, we are taking them (pitches) or fouling them off and making them come into the middle of the plate. We just threw a few tough at bats together and some timely hits too and got on a nice little roll there. (Gallardo) is one of the better guys in the league and when he is on, he is going to be tough to beat and he started off tough today.”
That was it for Gallardo, but the Cardinals weren’t done. Yadier Molina singled off new pitcher Burke Badenhop and Freese struck out for the second out. Descalso then reached on a ball that went under the Milwaukee first basemen’s glove which allowed another run to score and brought Wainwright to the plate for the second time of the inning. Wainwright singled, driving in Molina and Badenhop was done.
Michael Gonzalez came into the game in relief and Jay picked up his second hit of the inning, scoring Descalso before Carpenter flew out to end the inning.
That was it for the Cardinals’ offense. The Redbirds pounded out 10 hits with seven of them coming in the sixth inning. The only extra base hit of the game was Freese’s double in the third.
Every starter reached base at least once while Descalso and Carpenter were the only two starters not to record a hit. Wainwright led all Cardinal hitters with three singles while Jay (2-for-4) was the only other player to have multiple hits.
“It is pretty nice to see that the work the pitchers are putting into their offensive side is paying off,” Matheny said.
Page 3 of 3 - The Cardinals and the Brewers will be back at it this afternoon at 1:15 p.m. as St. Louis goes for its first sweep of the season.