ST. LOUIS – Taking the mound the day after your rookie teammate throws a complete game, one-hit shutout is a tough act to follow. But Adam Wainwright is not just another pitcher. He is the ace of the Cardinals’ pitching staff and he dominated the Rockies batters Saturday afternoon on his way to a two-hit complete game shutout as St. Louis beat Colorado 3-0 in front of a sellout crowd at Busch Stadium.

“You guys (media) were asking yesterday (Friday),” Cardinals’ manager Mike Matheny said. “It is a tough act for Adam (Wainwright) to follow and what is he going to do? He just about did it. I love that competition we have internally. The healthy competition that these guys keep pushing each other to be better, so it is going to be fun to see what Jaime (Garcia) can do (today).”

“I would say (Wainwright) was impressive,” the Cardinal’s manager said. “I thought for a while we were going to get something pretty special, which we did. It was a very good outing, but he had everything working to the point where you could see him finishing that off. What a great couple of days.”

Wainwright retired the first 13 batters he faced before walking Todd Helton on a full count. The walk by Helton ended a string of 40 straight batters retired by Cardinals’ pitching.

“I just tried to be real even today,” Wainwright said. “From the first pitch on out, I wanted the players behind me to know exactly what they were getting. I expect to make every pitch and I wanted to do that. I think when you are focusing on just execution and not all the other things that could distract you, your chances of making a pitch are that much greater.”

It wasn’t until there was one out in the top of the eighth when Colorado finally got its first hit of the game.

“After the third, I started thinking back to yesterday,” Wainwright said. “Like man, we have got them out a bunch of times. And then after four, I thought, well, maybe, this could be a day, maybe this could be my day. After five, I was like, ok, I have gone four innings before without giving up a hit. After six, I am starting to think about it now. After seven, I am like awwhh, maybe this is my day. I went in and said is this the day? Matt (Carpenter) made the great play at second base and I thought this might be the day. The next guy, as soon as I get a little cocky, he gets a base hit. That is the great thing about baseball, you think you got it figured out and it humbles you.”

Following a great defensive play by second baseman Matt Carpenter to start the eighth, Nolan Arenado singled up the middle for a clean base hit, ending the no-hit bid. The crowd at Busch Stadium, appreciative of the performance, gave Wainwright a standing ovation. When he walked off the mound at the end of the eighth, Wainwright received another standing-o.

“It is one of those things where you want to step back and throw your hat up and say look at me, I did a great job,” Wainwright said of the ovation. “But, the fact is you have got to do a job and you have to get back to work. I appreciated it (the ovation). I had chills all over my body when they were standing up and clapping for me. It was definitely felt.”

Wainwright allowed just two hits, the final hit coming with two outs in the ninth, and walked one while striking out seven. He threw 120 pitches while picking up his second complete game shutout of the season and the sixth of his career.

Including the walk, St. Louis (20-16) pitching held the Rockies batters hitless for 50 straight plate appearances.

“They went out and made pitches,” Matheny said. “You don’t see, very much, what we have seen the last two days.”

Twice the bottom half of the Cardinals’ lineup loaded the bases with less than two outs early in the game, only to leave the runners stranded. However, when the top of the lineup loaded the bases in the fifth, the heart of the order came through.

“Getting just enough offense, when it didn’t look like we were going to,” Matheny said. “We had so many opportunities slip away. It looked like it could have been one of those days where we had a lot of regrets.”

St. Louis took a 2-0 lead when Allen Craig drove in the first run with a sac fly while Matt Adams plated another run with a two-out RBI single.

“Today we got some runners on base,” Craig said. “Early on we just didn’t get them in. We stayed persistent and got some more guys on. Eventually it was going to happen for us. It definitely makes it easier when you got Waino out there, so it was good.”

The Cardinals added another run in the seventh when Matt Holliday reached on a one-out single. Craig followed with his third hit of the game. Yadier Molina then drove in Holliday with a single that moved Craig to third.

The Cardinals pounded out 12 hits, with the top half of the lineup all recording multiple hits. Matt Carpenter was 2-for-5 with a run scored while Jon Jay and Holliday were both 2-for-5 with a run scored. Craig led all Cardinal hitters with a 3-for-4 day with an RBI while Molina was 2-for-3 with an RBI and a walk.

The Cardinals’ other two hits came from David Freese and Matt Adams.

St. Louis will close out the three-game series with Colorado (22-13) this afternoon as the Redbirds look for their third straight shutout while going for the sweep.