Sunday’s Game Report: Cardinals 2, Rockies 0
By Rob Rains
It doesn’t have to be a special occasion such as Mother’s Day for Adam Wainwright to want to do something special when he takes the mound.
Given the chance to pitch on that day Sunday, however, he did so with three special women on his mind – his wife Jenny, his own mother and his mother-in-law.
This hasn’t been the easiest time for Wainwright lately as Jenny has battled COVID-19, which also affected all five of his children. Wainwright admitted than in his previous start, thinking and worrying about what she was going through, did distract him on the mound.
“When those moments kind of happen, you really realize, I already knew, but you realize how much people mean to you,” Wainwright said.
With her feeling better, Sunday was a chance for Wainwright to honor her with his performance against the Rockies at Busch Stadium.
“I got her some flowers, and we’ll take care of her the rest of the day,” Wainwright said. “There’s really not enough presents or flowers in the world for all our mom’s and wives do for us is there? My wife’s the most incredible lady in the whole world, I’m convinced of it.
“I have to thank my mom for getting me here and raising me up right, always sacrificing for me, and also Jenny’s mom at home right now who is taking care of Jenny while I’m here. She has kind of put her life on hold to come up here and help Jenny and help me and take care of our kiddos, so I want to thank all of them, but this was especially special for my girl at home.”
Wainwright came within two outs of giving her the present of a shutout, which would made him the oldest pitcher to do that for the Cardinals since Chuck Finley on Aug. 27, 2002 against the Reds.
He allowed just two hits through the first eight innings, but a one-out single by Ryan McMahon, followed by a walk to Charlie Blackmon, kept him from having the chance to finish the game – his goal every time he starts.
“I have a great time out-performing expectations,” Wainwright said. “That is something I really relish. A lot of people saw me a few years ago and thought I was done, and rightfully so by the way. Each time I am pitching I know there are people out there who think I am too old to go out and pitch nine innings. Even if there isn’t anybody out there doing that, I think there is, so that motivates me.”
Wainwright also has been pitching long enough to realize that as much as he wanted the shutout, the win for the team was more important.
“I knew if I didn’t get him (Blackmon) I was probably out but I also knew passing the baton was better than me being selfish and throwing one over the middle of the plate to their best hitter,” he said.
About the only thing Wainwright could get upset about on Sunday was the fact that twice, Harrison Bader was intentionally walked in front of him and each time he struck out.
“I used to be able to hit,” he said. “I’m absolutely terrible now … I’m in a deep slump and I’m seeing the ball terrible. The great thing about slumps is the deeper you go into it, the closer you are to being really hot. And I am certainly deep in a slump. I just stink right now. It’s frustrating. I’m getting real sick and tired of getting out I can tell you that.”
Here is how Sunday’s game broke down:
At the plate: Nolan Arenado gave Wainwright the only run he would need with a home run leading off the second, the first against his former team which, perhaps appropriately, landed in the Rockies bullpen … Arenado also scored the second run when he reached base leading off the fourth – on a throwing error by his cousin, Josh Fuentes, and came home on the first of Yadier Molina’s two doubles in the game … Dylan Carlson reached base three times on two singles and a walk. In the three-game series, including reaching on an error, he got on base in 10 of 13 plate appearances … Bader also reached base three times, on a single and the two intentional walks … Tommy Edman was hitless in four at-bats, on his birthday, only the second time this season he has failed to reach by either a hit or a walk.
On the mound: Wainright was making his first start against the Rockies since May 27, 2017 but that long layoff did not interrupt his success against them. Wainwright beat the Rockies for the ninth consecutive time and in 12 career starts, he is now 10-1 wirth one no-decision, His only loss came on June 5, 2009 … With Alex Reyes and Giovanny Gallegos unavailable because of their recent heavy workload, Ryan Helsley got his first save chance to the year. He walked the first batter he faced, but then got a game-ending double play that completed the Cardinals third shutout in the last eight games and their fifth this season.
Key stat: With Helsley getting the final two outs, Cardinals relievers have now gone 21 consecutive games without allowing a home run, their longest streak since a 23-game stretch in 1990. Their total of six homers allowed is the second lowest total in the majors (Mets 4).
Worth noting: The game-time temperature of 48 degrees was the coldest for a home game in May since it was 47 degrees on May 17, 2002 … Miles Mikolas, who has been working out in St. Louis in between rehab starts, will make his second start for Memphis on Wednesday night in Nashville … Jordan Hicks has received the second opinion on his sore right elbow and the Cardinals are finalizing his treatment plan but he is still expected to miss a minimum of four weeks … Arenado’s homer leaves only two teams that he has not homered against in his career – the Angels (10 career games) and the Indians (four games) … Wainwright was called for a balk for only the fourth time in his career, the last time coming in 2014 … The first five innings were played with only three unpires, with no explanation for Chad Whitson’s absence. A callup umpire arrived before the start of the sixth inning.
Looking ahead: After Monday’s day off, the Cardinals open a six-game trip on Tuesday night with the first of three games in Milwaukee They will then play three next weekend in San Diego before returning home on May 18. Starting the games against the Brewers will be Kwang Hyun Kim, John Gant and Jack Flaherty.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains