Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright said he would bounce back.
And he did, in a big way. The Cardinals needed the tall right-hander to be every bit as good as he was, too. Wainwright worked seven scoreless innings to outduel rookie right-hander Kyle Hendricks in a 1-0 victory that gave the Cardinals the series victory at Wrigley Field and allowed them to cut the Brewers’ lead atop the NL Central to two games.
Wainwright continues to pile up some superb stats: He became the majors’ first 13-game winner and turned in his 10th scoreless start of at least seven innings while helping the Cardinals to their 18th shutout of the season. Wainwright dropped his ERA to sub-2 again, at 1.92. He also improved his ERA on the road to 1.32 to go with the 9-3 record.
"Results usually follow my delivery," Wainwright said in postgame remarks televised on FOX Sports Midwest. "I told you I was going to get things under wrap, control my body and get my arm up in the right spot to throw the ball. Success was following that."
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny showed his faith in Wainwright when he let him hit in the seventh inning with the bases loaded and two outs. Matheny also visited the mound with two out and two on in the seventh with Nate Schierholz coming up but decided to leave Wainwright in. One pitch later, Schierholz grounded out to second to end the inning.
"I don’t think that’s much of a reach when you’re talking about one of the best pitchers in the game," Matheny said about sticking with Wainwright. "He’s been so consistent."
It was the Cardinals’ fifth 1-0 victory of the season, and the third one in which Matt Holliday drove in the only run. His homer to center field in the first was his 10th of the season and his fourth since the All-Star break.
The Cardinals will have their third off-day since the break Monday before opening a three-game series Tuesday night at San Diego.
— Trevor Rosenthal. He has worked only one three-up, three-down inning in his past 17 outings but had no trouble pitching around a two-out single he gave up to Chris Coghlan. With his fastball reaching 98 mph, Rosenthal worked a scoreless ninth for his 32nd save. He entered the day tied with Atlanta’s Craig Kimbrel for the lead in major league saves.
— Matt Carpenter. Three singles in four at-bats gave the Cardinals’ leadoff hitter another multi-hit game, his 33rd of the season. Since the start of 2013, Carpenter leads the majors with 96 multi-hit games.
— First-inning runs. Holliday’s two-out homer gave the Cardinals a first-inning lead in all three games of the series. If this is a pattern, though, expect it to end in Tuesday’s opener. The Cardinals went from three in the first on Friday, to two on Saturday to a single first-inning run Sunday.
— Runs after the first inning. Even with a stiff wind blowing out, the Cardinals were unable to generate much offense against the Cubs after the first inning. Rookie right-hander Hendricks limited the Cardinals to a first-inning run in 6 1/3 innings in his third big-league start. Besides Holliday’s homer, the Cardinals didn’t threaten much. They put only three runners in scoring position.
— Double plays. The Cardinals hit into three double plays and Kolten Wong made an out in each of them. He grounded into two 4-6-3s, including one in the eighth after he was unable to lay down a sacrifice bunt. The Cardinals have grounded into 96 double plays on the season, 12 more than any other team in the NL.
— Three-hour games. The two-hour, 41-minute affair marked the first time since the All-Star break that the Cardinals played a game in less than three hours, ending a streak of seven.