MILWAUKEE – After scoring seven times to overcome a 6-0 deficit Friday, the Cardinals continued their scoring surge Saturday, beating the Brewers 10-2 at Miller Park in Milwaukee. With the win, the Cardinals are now tied for first place with the Brewers in the National League Central.
“It’s nice to be able to gain a little ground,” Cardinals’ skipper Mike Matheny said. “But, I think it comes back to playing each game the right way. After last night, for the guys to continue and for Waino (Adam Wainwright) to kind of set the tone and to get some offense right out of the box, that is nice to see.”
St. Louis plated three runs in the first inning and with starting pitcher Adam Wainwright on the hill, that was more than enough offense for the Cardinals’ ace. However, the Cardinals continued to pile on the runs in support of their pitcher. At one point, St. Louis led 8-0.
“I thought he was terrific,” Matheny said of Wainwright. “Terrific. It has been just so fun to watch him pitch different styles, he will make up depending on what he has that particular day. When he has everything working, he is real fun to watch.”
After scoring three in the first, St. Louis added two in the second, and one in the third before being held retired in order in the fourth. That brief stumble didn’t stop St. Louis though. The Cardinals added two more in the fifth to go up 8-0. But the Redbirds weren’t done as they continued to add on runs, scoring once in the sixth and seventh.
Among the more memorable scoring plays were Kolten Wong hitting a two-run shot in the second to give the Cardinals a 5-0 lead. It was Wong’s fifth home run in seven games.
“I definitely don’t try to hit home runs,” Wong said. “I just try to put a good swing on it.”
Another big hit was Wainwright collecting his 100th career hit in the top of the fifth. The Cardinals’ ace singled to drive in Oscar Taveras.
“Is that all I have got,” Wainwright said of recording his 100th hit. “A hundred is pretty good for a pitcher, right? That’s not bad.”
Filling in for the injured Yadier Molina, Tony Cruz was 2-for-5 with a career-high three runs batted in. Two other hitters had multiple hits, Jay finished the day 3-for-5 with a run batted in and a run scored while Peralta was 2-for-3 a double, two runs scored and two RBI.
As well as he did offensively, Cruz wants to focus on his skills behind the dish first.
“For me, handling the staff is always No. 1,” Cruz said. “I just try to step in there and do what I can at the plate, but at the same time, I go in and do my work that I need to do and try to do what I can when I am there.”
Wainwright believes there no catcher better than Cruz to fill in for Molina.
“When you are given a chance to study under probably the best catcher, that anyone has ever seen that is living now anyways,” Wainwright said. “When you are given a chance to work with him day in and day out for a few years straight, you can pick his brain, watch how he watches film, watch how he blocks balls and does all those kind of things, you are going to learn some things. I think Tony is prepared now for this situation. I don’t think that there is a catcher out there that we could sign that is better than Tony behind the plate right now, I just don’t think there is.”
By the end of the fifth inning St. Louis had 10 hits, two walks, and a hit by pitch. At that point, every Cardinal batter had reached base safely at least once. For the game, St. Louis banged out 12 hits and drew four walks while having one batter hit by a pitch.
The bottom third of the Cardinals’ lineup drove in half (five) of the team’s 10 runs. Every starter scored at least once except Wainwright and Cruz.
Wainwright (12-4) pitched the first seven inning, scattering five hits and two runs on 94 pitches. He hit one batter and struck out four, including the side in the bottom of the fifth. Wainwright is now tied for the NL lead in wins with Cincinnati’s Alfredo Simon with 12 wins apiece.
“As usual, it was his command, his command of the fastball, his cutter and his curveball,” Cruz said of Wainwright. “His three main pitches and when those are on, he is pretty good. He is throwing the ball really well.”
The Cardinals will close out the first half of play as they attempt to sweep the three game series with the Brewers on Sunday. If successful, the Cardinals will gain sole possession of first place. First pitch is set for 1:10 at Miller Park.