Welcome back, Cardinals offense! You were greatly missed. Yes, it was definitely nice to see runs being scored — more Sunday, 7, as the Cardinals beat the Pirates 7-0, than they had in Wednesday through Saturday’s games combined — and even a home run for the first time in 366 at-bats since Allen Craig last launched one on April 16.
And while things are starting to get better at the plate, just like Michael wrote they would on Saturday, one game is apparently not enough of a jumpstart, since two roster moves were announced late Sunday night. Promoted to the Cardinals are infielder Greg Garcia and outfielder Randal Grichuk and one of the subsequent demotions, Shane Robinson, is not a surprise. But the other is: Kolten Wong.
Wong was hitting .225 and hadn’t played since going 0 for 4 against the Pirates Friday night. And, courtesy of Rick Hummel in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, here’s a very interesting comment from general manager John Mozeliak:
“This will give him a chance to play every day and if he gets back on track, that would be helpful,” said Mozeliak.
Back to yesterday, in addition to the offense, it’s always good to see Adam Wainwright be Adam Wainwright, isn’t it? Here’s more on him and six other highlights from the series-winning victory.
1. The Cards manufacturing a first-inning run
Matt Carpenter did a very Matt Carpenter-like thing (guys doing what they typically do was a theme of the day) and doubled to lead off the game for the Cardinals. While there was plenty of Twitter outrage when Jon Jay then bunted him over to third base, the move immediately paid dividends: the Cards took a 1-0 lead on a Matt Holliday sacrifice fly. With the way the offense had been struggling, the move was understandable at the moment — regardless of opinions on Mike Matheny and his bunting strategies.
2. Jhonny Peralta homered … and homered again
The first one, which broke the team’s homerless drought in the bottom of the fifth inning, was aptly described on the title of this video highlight as a “moonshot” since it landed in the front row of the upper deck. A thing of beauty for sure, and one that was described as landing in Quarter-Pounder Land on the Cardinals radio broadcast, since it was just over from Big Mac Land.
Jhonny’s second homer of the day, an inning later and into the Pirates bullpen, came with two on and made the score 6-0. It was his sixth homer of the month — a first for a Cardinals shortstop. Yes, he’s still still just hitting .195, and now 6 of his 16 hits are homers. But hits are hits, right?
3. Adam Wainwright’s scoreless streak
It was another stellar outing for Adam Wainwright, which is all he’s had this season. He’s now pitched 25 consecutive scoreless innings and allowed just 3 hits while striking out 7 and walking 2. It lowered his ERA to 1.20 and made him the first 5-game winner in the major leagues. Here’s more from Jenifer Langosch at Cardinals.com:
“It’s been an absolute joy to watch,” manager Mike Matheny said of Wainwright’s season start, which has him one of four pitchers in franchise history to win five games before May.
“I’m getting results, obviously, but I’m really having more fun pitching now than I ever had,” Wainwright said. “It’s just such a chess match right now with me.” …
Only twice did the Pirates advance a runner into scoring position against him. As has been Wainwright’s modus operandi, too, he silenced a lineup while tinkering with new way to use his pitches.
He varied the speed of his curveball — going hard when he wanted ground-ball contact and slower to generate the swings and misses. He experimented with a slower cutter and garnered three outs on changeup. He has become anything but predictable.
“The best way to know if things are going to work is to try them at game speed,” Wainwright said. “Luckily, things were working. I would hate to go out there and give up some runs, but I was confident it was going to work.”
4. Matt Adams tripling
While it’s always fun to see Yadi run the bases, this was pretty sweet to see as well — and it’s a stand-up triple for Matt Adams at that. Perhaps not surprisingly, that’s a first for his big-league career. And, speaking of Yadi, he drove in Big Nickname on a sac fly for the Cards’ 7th run.
5. Allen Craig driving in a run
Back to the “guys doing what they typically do” theme, it was definitely good to see this. It was his first RBI his since only homer of the season back on April 16 plus he’s still hitting just .177/.223/.240 and .182 with runners in scoring position. But the only way to improve is to do what he did in that at-bat. It’s a step in the right direction.
6. Matt Holliday’s defense
Some of us still cringe when Holliday makes a play in the field, but he’s been looking good so far — and made two really nice catches in the top of the first inning on a line drive hit by Andrew McCutchen and a fly ball along the left field line from Pedro Alvarez. Sure, I probably just jinxed him, but so far so good this season.
7. Carlos Martinez striking out the side in the ninth
Maybe I was the only one wondering why Mike Matheny chose to use Carlos Martinez in the ninth when the Cards had a 7-0 lead, but it was certainly enjoyable to watch him work. He made Andrew McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez and Travis Snider look foolish as he struck them each out, and that curve to Cutch was especially nice. Good way to close out the game after all.
Now it’s the division leading (yuck) Brewers heading to St. Louis for a three-game series starting tonight. The Brewers still have the major’s best record, as they’re 18-7, but the Cards took two of three from them in Milwaukee. The pitchers are Yovani Gallardo for the Brewers — who the Cards have always loved facing — and Michael Wacha, with game time at 7:15 p.m.
Tonight also marks the FOX Sports Midwest debut of Tim McCarver.
Christine Coleman is the lead writer for Aaron Miles’ Fastball. Follow her on Twitter, @CColeman802, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also follow @AMilesFastball for the latest updates and like AMF on Facebook if you don’t already.