Wainwright helps Cards take series
ST. LOUIS – Jhonny Peralta went deep twice, ending the St. Louis Cardinals’ 366 at-bat homerless drought.
The first would have been plenty for Adam Wainwright.
Wainwright became the majors’ first five-game winner and Peralta had two home runs and four RBIs in a 7-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday.
“I’m really having more fun pitching right now than I ever have,” Wainwright said. “It’s just such a chess match.
“I feel I’m right where I want to be and so I’m going to work extra hard to stay there and not get complacent.”
Matt Holliday, Allen Craig and Yadier Molina also had RBIs for the Cardinals, who totaled five runs in their previous four games. St. Louis took two of three from the Pirates, shutting them out in both wins.
“We got some big hits today, gave him a little bit of room to breathe,” manager Mike Matheny said. “Even though we’ve got all the faith in the world in Waino, you just hate to have to be on the edge all the time.”
Edinson Volquez (1-2) gave up six runs in 5 2/3 innings for Pittsburgh, which has dropped five of six. His day unraveled after the Pirates’ appeal of a potential double-play ball was denied and first baseman Ike Davis’ foot was ruled off the bag in the sixth inning.
Davis was on the dirt stretching for the relay and was adamant replay got it wrong, contending he had contact with the base for “at least a half-second” after gloving the relay from second baseman Neil Walker.
“I knew I was on the bag. You can look at the video yourself and you would think I was on the bag, too,” Davis said after the game. “But I guess it wasn’t a close enough view.”
Craig’s two-out bloop single made it 2-0 the next at bat, his first RBI in eight games. Peralta followed with a three-run homer on a full count for a 5-0 lead that chased Volquez, who’s 3-6 with a 5.66 ERA in 12 career starts against St. Louis.
Manager Clint Hurdle said if the umpires had called it a double play, he didn’t think Matheny would have prevailed in a challenge.
“You saw how it changed the complexion of the game,” Hurdle said. “I don’t think it does anything mentally, you’ve got to play through it.
“We’ve been playing through calls we didn’t like for 128 years, so that part of it is not going to change.”
Peralta also homered leading off the fifth, the Cardinals’ first since Craig on April 16 at Milwaukee. He has six homers, the most ever by a Cardinals shortstop in the opening month of the season and one more than Edgar Renteria hit in 2000.
“The first one, I knew it was gone for sure,” Peralta said. “The second home run, I didn’t know for sure if was gone. He threw me a pretty good change-up.”
Wainwright (5-1) allowed three hits in eight scoreless innings and hasn’t allowed a run in 25 consecutive innings. He stayed on turn after tweaking his right knee trying to cover first in his last start at New York and had seven strikeouts with two walks.
Wainwright’s only loss came April 6 at Pittsburgh when he allowed two runs in seven innings but lost 2-1 in another matchup with Volquez, with the win going to reliever Tony Watson.
On Sunday, Wainwright retired nine straight before hitting Jose Tabata with a breaking ball with one out in the sixth. Pedro Alvarez singled with two outs, but Wainwright got Neil Walker on a called third strike.
He’s the fourth St. Louis pitcher to win five games in the opening month, joining Darryl Kile (2000), Bob Tewksbury (1994) and John Denny (1977).
“You cannot make a lot of mistakes,” Volquez said. “He’s unbelievable. He’s a superstar.”
Matt Adams tripled off Jeanmar Gomez in the eighth and scored on Molina’s sacrifice fly.
NOTES: The Pirates have lost five consecutive series. … Michael Wacha (2-2, 2.10) opposes Yovani Gallardo (2-0, 1.42) Monday in the opener of a three-game series between the Cardinals and Brewers. … The Pirates have a day off before opening a two-game series at Baltimore with Charlie Morton (0-3, 4.35) opposing Chris Tillman (3-1, 3.38). … Matt Carpenter and Yadier Molina received Silver Slugger awards in a pregame ceremony. … Peralta has eight career multihomer games, the previous on July 29, 2012, at Toronto. … Holliday had an RBI in all three games of the series.