Michael Wacha enjoyed a couple of milestones Friday.
Wacha threw a season-high seven innings and won his career-high 12th game in the St. Louis’ Cardinals 7-0 drubbing of the lowly Colorado Rockies.
“As long as I’m winning games for this club,” said Wacha, who allowed four hits, walked one and struck out seven. “I try not to think too much on personal-type stuff like that, but more team goals. Every win I get is a win for this club, so that’s good.”
Wacha (12-4, 3.09 ERA) even managed to coax a walk that helped fuel the Cardinals’ five-run uprising in the sixth that made it 7-0. The big blows in the inning were a two-run double by rookie Stephen Piscotty and a two-run homer by Jhonny Peralta.
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“That inning just exploded,” Wacha said. “A lot of great ABs from the guys got us a lot of runs.”
The Cardinals climbed back to 29 games above .500 at 66-37 and will have an opportunity to move 30 over for the first time at 6:15 p.m. Saturday against the Rockies. St. Louis maintained its 5 1/2-game lead over Pittsburgh, which defeated Cincinnati 5-4.
Apparently all it took to get the Cardinals’ bats smoking again was facing Colorado (43-58). St. Louis, which scored seven runs in five games this week, has 16 runs on 28 hits in the first two games of the series against the Rockies, whose 4.95 ERA ranks last in the National League.
Matt Carpenter led off the game with a home run, his third in two games. Carpenter, Peralta, Kolten Wong, Yadier Molina, Jason Heyward and Randal Grichuk had two hits apiece.
Wacha was the beneficiary. He allowed just three runners to reach scoring position.
“I felt like I was on time for most of the night,” said Wacha, who had surrendered 13 earned runs in 17 innings in his last three starts. “I was getting my arm in a good spot to be able to throw the ball down in the zone. I’ve been working on that in between starts and I felt really good out there.
“I’m always trying to get better. After the rough starts, nothing changed. Just still trying to figure it out. Figure out how to get the ball back down in the zone.”
Wacha was able to locate his fastball, and as usual, his changeup was his bread-and-butter pitch. The Rockies had several bad swings, another indication of Wacha’s effectiveness.
“It felt really good,” Wacha said of his changeup. “I was able to keep it down in the zone and got a lot of mishits and some strikeouts on it. I was pretty happy with the movement and the way it was coming out of the hand tonight.”
Piscotty was 0-for-3 and had twice struck out looking until his two-out double to dead-center scored Grichuk and Wacha to make it 4-0. It was arguably the biggest hit of the game.
“I’m glad to come through there,” said Piscotty, adding that the double was the hardest-hit ball he’s had in his 29 at-bats. “Absolutely. That one, I got all of. I was just trying to stay up the middle and I got a good piece of it. That was definitely the best ball I’ve squared up.
“That’s what I do. Really, that’s my game, and I hope it always will be.”
Piscotty batted second for the first time in his young career.
“That was different, but really, after the first at-bat, it’s the same thing,” Piscotty said. “After the first at-bat, it’s just like hitting anywhere else.”