Wainwright spectacular in two-hit shutout
Righty, Miller combine to retire 40 Rockies in a row, tying MLB record
By Steve Overbey 5/11/2013 7:32 PM ET
ST. LOUIS -- Adam Wainwright was not about to be outdone by a rookie teammate.
The veteran St. Louis right-hander tossed a two-hit shutout and Allen Craig had three hits to lead the Cardinals to a 3-0 win over the Colorado Rockies on Saturday in front of 43,050 at Busch Stadium.
Wainwright (5-2) retired the first 13 batters and carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning before Nolan Arenado hit a one-out line drive to center.
Wainwright struck out seven and walked one in the 120-pitch gem.
His strong effort came on the heels of an even more impressive starting performance. Shelby Miller threw a one-hitter against the Rockies on Friday, retiring the final 27 batters he faced in a 3-0 win. Miller, who set a career high with 13 strikeouts, gave up a leadoff single to Eric Young and was perfect the rest of the way.
Wainwright said he was motivated by Miller's strong effort.
"When you follow Roger Clemens in the rotation like I have been, it makes you focus a little bit more," he said, referring to Miller. "These young guys are pushing me. And I appreciate it."
St. Louis (23-12) has won nine of its last 10 games, outscoring its opponents 47-22 along the way. The 12 losses are the fewest in the majors.
The Cardinals, who have won three in a row, began a 10-game homestand with back-to-back pitching gems against the highest scoring team in the NL.
Wainwright and Miller combined to retire 40 consecutive batters from the same team, trying a Major League record according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The Texas Rangers retired 40 straight Detroit Tigers in 1996.
"Once you see Shelby mow through a lineup like he has been all year, you feel like you've got to go out there and do it too," Wainwright said. "Or else the guys will think there's a new sheriff in town."
Wainwright recorded his third two-hit shutout. He allowed two hits against Florida on Aug. 6, 2010. This was the sixth shutout of Wainwright's eight-year career and his 13th complete game.
Wainwright rolled through the first three innings on just 25 pitches and got stronger as the game went along. He realized early on that he might be on the way to a history-making performance.
"After seven, I said, 'Maybe this can be my day,'" Wainwright said. "Then as soon as I got a little cocky, the next guy gets a base hit. That's the great thing about baseball. As soon as you think you've got it figured out, it humbles you."
Craig led the offensive attack with a 3-for-3 performance. He also thought Wainwright might be on his way to a date with the record book.
"I feel like he's going to do that every time," Craig said. "He has that mentality when he's out there."
St. Louis manager Mike Matheny can't remember the last time he has seen two such dominating back-to-back performances by any pitching staff.
"What a great couple of days," he said. "This was impressive, really special. I know the fans really appreciate being a part of it on a beautiful day like this."
Arenado said he was simply trying to make contact against Wainwright, who threw 88 strikes in the affair, which lasted 2 hours and 40 minutes.
"I was just trying to hit the ball hard, but it was a pretty good pitch," he said. "I just got pretty lucky, I guess."
St. Louis second baseman Matt Carpenter turned in the defensive play of the game by making a diving stop on a grounder by Todd Helton to lead off the eighth. Carpenter snared the ball, which appeared headed to right field, and scrambled to his feet to make the throw.
"I thought after the play, 'He's going to throw a no-hitter today'," Carpenter said.
Wainwright gave up a two-out hit to Dexter Fowler in the ninth. He then got Carlos Gonzalez to ground out to end the game.
The Cardinals scored twice in the fifth inning off Colorado starter Jhoulys Chacin (3-2). Craig's bases-loaded sacrifice fly broke the scoreless tie. Matt Adams, who returned to the lineup after a 15-day stint on the disabled list, followed with a run-scoring hit to right. Carpenter, Jon Jay and Matt Holliday slapped successive singles to start the rally.
Yadier Molina had a fourth-inning single to extend his hitting streak to 11 games, the best by a Cardinal player this season. He added a run-scoring hit in the seventh.
Jay, in center, made a sharp running catch of a sinking liner off the bat of Reid Brignac in the third. Wainwright also made a nice defensive play on a shot from Chacin later in the inning.
After stepping awkwardly on first base while trying to beat out a grounder in the eighth, Holliday is considered day to day.
"He just turned it a little as he was going through," Matheny noted. "He said he was OK."
Steve Overbey is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.