Wainwright leads Cards over Rockies
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Adam Wainwright has found the secret to pitching in the heat — a peanut butter and jelly sandwich between innings.
The St. Louis right-hander, toiling in 103 degree temperatures, threw six strong innings and Matt Holliday had three hits to lead the Cardinals to a 4-1 win over the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday night.
Wainwright (7-8) gave up one run, struck out seven and allowed eight hits to help the Cardinals win for the third time in four games. He fanned seven of the first 13 hitters and threw a first-pitch strike to nine of the first 10 batters.
Wainwright stayed strong despite the steamy conditions. The game-time temperature was the highest in St. Louis since 1988 when temperature readings were first added to the box scores.
“When you’re playing in heat like that it’s important to keep those calories in you,” Wainwright said. “You’ve got to make sure you are hydrating well.”
Wainwright also ate a protein bar during the contest but felt the sandwich was the key to staying fresh.
“Always strawberry (jelly) on game days,” he said. “Like Tiger (Woods) wearing red on Sunday.”
Wainwright was coming off one of his worst performances of the season. He gave up seven earned runs in five innings of a 14-5 loss to Pittsburgh on Friday.
But he came out aggressive early against the Rockies retiring nine in a row from the second to fifth innings.
“He did a real good job of getting ahead of guys and working quick,” St. Louis first baseman Allen Craig said. “I feel like he’s got his stuff back. He looks really confident out there.”
Holliday, who went 3-for-4, is 33-for-64 (.516) with four homers and 19 RBI in his last 16 games.
St. Louis scored runs in the first and second off Colorado spot starter Jeremy Guthrie (3-8), who gave up two runs in six innings. Guthrie allowed six hits and struck out two in his first start since being dropped from the rotation June 17.
Holliday brought in Jon Jay with a double to left in the first.
Holliday, who is batting .319, has hit in seven straight games and 15 of his last 17. He has eight games of three hits or more this season. The Cardinals have won all eight.
“His numbers are pretty indicative of what he’s been able to do lately,” St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said “Every time he walks in there he knows he’s going to hit the ball hard.”
The Cardinals pushed the lead to 2-0 in the second. Yadier Molina, Skip Schumaker and Rafael Furcal singled to load to the bases. Jay was hit on the hip by a two-strike offering from Guthrie.
“I wanted fastball in, I didn’t want to make a mistake there,” Guthrie said. “I just got it too far in.”
Guthrie drove in the Rockies’ lone run with a single in the fifth. It was his first career RBI.
David Freese pushed the lead to 4-1 with a bases-loaded single off reliever Adam Ottavino in the eighth.
Wainwright, nursing a 2-1 lead, wriggled out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth by inducing Tyler Colvin to fly out.
“We had 10 hits, we had many offensive opportunities that got away,” Colorado manager Jim Tracy said. “We just couldn’t get the big hit.”
Jonathan Herrera bounced into a 3-6-5 double play to end the sixth.
Relievers Maikel Cleto, Marc Rzepczynski and Jason Motte each pitched a scoreless inning. Motte picked up his 18th save in 22 opportunities. The trio combined for six strikeouts. The St. Louis pitchers fanned 13.
The St. Louis bullpen has allowed just two earned runs in the last 14 2/3 innings (1.23 ERA) covering five games with 19 strikeouts and one walk.
“That’s nice to see,” Matheny said. “Their working ahead in the count and they’re doing a nice job.”
Carlos Gonzales extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a first-inning single. It is the longest current streak in the NL and the longest by a Rockies player this season.
Notes: Colorado RH Juan Nicasio canceled a simulated game scheduled for Thursday due to a build up of fluid on his knee. Nicasio was placed on the 15-day disabled list June 3 with a strained left knee. .. Colorado INF Chris Nelson broke out of an 0-for-9 skid with a single in the sixth. ...The Cardinals are 13-8 in their last 21 games on July 4. ....St. Louis right-hander Lance Lynn (10-4, 3.62) will face Christian Friedrich (4-5, 5.52) in the final game of the four-game series today. Lynn, an All-Star selection, has not won in his last three starts. ....Colvin, who homered in the first two games of the series, has six HRs and 14 RBI in his career against St. Louis, the most against any team.
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