Follow the leaders: Waino and Carp put on a show in Kansas City
JUN 05, 2014 1:23a ET
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The 2-0 lead Adam Wainwright took into the ninth inning was gone, but the Cardinals weren't done. Matt Carpenter made sure of that.
"He was the first guy that came in (the dugout) screaming, 'We're not giving this away. This is our game. It's not going to end like this,'" manager Mike Matheny said after the Cardinals came away with a 5-2, 11-inning victory over the Royals on Wednesday night.
Following his emotional outburst, Carpenter really went to work. Actually, he had been plenty busy all night, but he saved his best for last. After Peter Bourjos worked a walk and stole second, Carpenter lined a double to the gap in right-center to put the Cardinals back on top, this time for good.
It was his fifth hit of the night to go with two runs, two RBI and a walk and marked the 10th consecutive time he had reached base in the past two games. Since having a 14-game hitting streak snapped Monday, Carpenter has gone 7 for 7 with three runs, three walks and two RBI.
"When you see a guy who's being vocal and then he gets up there and does it with production, that's special," Matheny said.
"I was pretty emotional at that point," Carpenter said. "It was just one of those games we have to win. We were winning the whole time, then it slipped away. I felt like this was our game. We have to find a way to win, and we were able to do that."
Carpenter lifted his batting average to .307 and his OBP to .395, both season highs.
"I'm seeing it well, but really no different than I felt all year," Carpenter said. "I'm just starting to have some success, and it's piling up consecutively so it's a little more glaring. I'm sticking to the same approach I've had all season."
-- Wainwright. Just as he said he would, the Cardinals' ace bounced back from his worst start of the season with one that looks pretty typical for him these days: eight innings, four hits, two runs. It was the sixth time in 13 starts that Wainwright went at least eight innings.
He would have fared even better in this one except Eric Hosmer, leading off the ninth, reached on a wild pitch after strike three -- his fourth strikeout of the game. Billy Butler followed with a ground-ball single and Wainwright's night was over after 111 pitches.
-- Pat Neshek. He said he was as nervous as he's been all season when he went out to protect the 5-2 lead in the 11th. Nerves or not, the sidewinding right-hander did what he's been doing all season -- got outs without much trouble. His nerves were understandable, though, because this was the first save of his career after 255 appearances. He got the ball and the scorecard to keep.
"I've pitched in so many close games, and to never have one, it's amazing to me," Neshek said. "Finally got it. It's stupid but it's kind of a weight off my back. It's something I've always wanted to get."
-- Stolen bases. The Cardinals had only two, but both resulted in runs. They would not have scored in the second if Mark Ellis had not singled and then stolen second in front of a two-out single by Carpenter. Bourjos is fast enough he probably would have scored from first on Carpenter's double in the 11th, but stealing second made it that much easier to come in with the go-ahead run. The Cardinals still have the second-fewest steals in the NL (25), but they are on pace to finish with more than the 45 they stole in 2013.
-- Trevor Rosenthal. A night after giving up the winning run, he blew his third save in 19 chances by allowing both of the runners he inherited from Wainwright to score. Pitching in his hometown with his parents in the stands, Rosenthal's fastball was reaching 98 mph, but he had trouble with his location. He walked the first batter he faced and ended up throwing nine balls to 13 strikes.
-- Randal Grichuk. He brings thunder with his swing, but that hasn't led to much production in the big leagues. Back in the two-hole with the Royals starting lefty Jason Vargas, Grichuk went 0 for 4 and three times failed to advance Carpenter, who reached in from of him five times. Grichuk pounded left-handers at Memphis but is only 2 for 18 with seven strikeouts and one walk against them in the majors.
-- Kauffman Stadium. It's quite scenic with the waterfalls and everything, but the outfield -- in center, anyway -- proved a bit too big for the liking of Matt Holliday and Allen Craig in the third inning. Both hit towering drives that would have been home runs in some parks -- Busch Stadium, perhaps -- but ended up as 400-foot outs to the center-field warning track at The K.