Any doubts about the health of St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright's elbow were relieved Saturday when the ace held the Philladelphia Phillies to a single run over eight innings at Busch Stadium.
The performance was enough to out-duel Phillies lefty Cole Hames while snapping Philadelphia's five-game winning streak while putting a halt to the Redbirds' stretch of three consecutive losses.
Wainwright allowed six hits and no walks while striking out seven. Meanwhile, Hamels held the Cardinals to a single run to keep the game tied until the bottom of the eighth inning. Matt Carpenter led off with a walk and then, somehow, Allen Craig managed to pop up a pitch over the middle of the plate but at the bottom of the strike zone for the first out. But then Matt Holliday, who has been in the middle of a double play streak, got over it by mashing a gapper into left centerfield that scored Carpenter all the way from first base.
The Cardinals got one insurance run when, after Yadier Molina reached when he was hit by a pitch, Jhonny Peralta hit a grounder to Philadelphia's drawn in shortstop. Even with the infield in, there might have been a chance for a double play. But the ball instead came home where it easily beat Holliday for what would have been the second out. Had the catcher not dropped the ball.
Matt Adams hit a long sacrifice fly to right field to push home the fourth St. Louis run and provide the final score, 4-1.
It took everything Wainwright had to put the Birds in position to win the game with a late rally. And the offense, again, was able to provide barely enough. The Cardinals struggled, playing without their hottest hitter, Jon Jay, who was given a day off to rest. St. Louis managed only five hits during the game.
Philadelphia had six hits with two of them coming from Hamels who had a double and single.
Trevor Rosenthal notched his 21st save with a scoreless ninth. He allowed a two-out walk but no hits while striking out two. Rosenthal has allowed only one earned run over his last 10 appearances to lower his ERA nearly a full point to 3.34. Rosenthal seems not only like he has better command lately. But on Saturday his ball seemed to have more movement than it did in previous appearances. His velocity has also been slightly better.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Wainwright who improved to 10-3 with a 2.08 ERA after missing one start due to a sore elbow.
Cardinals Play of the Game: Holliday's tie-breaking double.
Lowlight: Peter Bourjos not only is failing to produce these days. He's failing to make a play that has a chance to succeed. He, incredibly, tried to bunt with a runner on third base in his first at-bat. It wasn't a squeeze play. It just seemed that Bourjos was shrinking from the opportunity to drive in a run and passing the buck to the next hitter, utility man Mark Ellis. In his second at-bat bourjos struck out looking with two on and two out. Looking? Later he struck out pathetically. But at least he swung the bat. He ended the day hitless in four plate appearances to lower his batting average to .204.