By Jenifer Langosch and Thomas Harding
ST. LOUIS -- Behind blasts from Matt Carpenter and Jhonny Peralta, as well as a bounceback start by Michael Wacha, the Cardinals cruised to a 7-0 win over the Rockies at Busch Stadium on Friday night. The win improved the Cardinals to 39-15 at home, while Colorado has dropped 18 of its last 23 road games.
Carpenter sparked the offense for a second straight night by leading off the first with his third home run in five at-bats. Rockies starter Kyle Kendrick allowed another first-inning run before exiting the game with right shoulder inflammation.
A five-run sixth, which featured Stephen Piscotty's two-run double and Peralta's 15th homer, gave Wacha more support than he needed. He held the Rockies to four hits while finishing seven innings for the seventh time this year.
"[I] really liked how he mixed his pitches in," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of Wacha. "He had good movement on his cutter. His changeup was a swing-and-miss pitch. He just had good rhythm right from the start … and everything just came out of his hand very effortlessly today. It showed."
The 17 runs scored by the Cardinals in back-to-back wins over the Rockies are more than the team scored in its first seven games of this homestand.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Piscotty punctuates big inning: After striking out with a runner on second to end the second and then with the bases full to close the fourth, Piscotty delivered a two-run, two-out double to spark the team's five-run sixth. Piscotty, who was batting second for the first time in his career, has hit safely in all eight of his starts.
"The game will find you," Piscotty said. "There's no hiding. Mess up in one situation and it's going to come right up the next turn. I had a feeling it was going to happen and was ready and I'm glad to come through there." More >
Gone again: The way Kendrick's season has gone, it was practically inevitable. Carpenter's leadoff homer certainly wasn't new -- it was his third in two games against the Rockies. And it was the Majors-leading 26th homer off Kendrick, who was giving up hard contact before leaving with the shoulder injury. It turns out Kendrick has been pitching through the issue for two months. He will undergo an MRI Monday in Denver. More >
Back on track: Wacha had an answer for those concerned that he was beginning to fade. He twirled seven shutout innings on the heels of allowing 13 runs over his previous three starts. Wacha closed his outing with a brisk 10-pitch seventh to match his longest start of the year. The Rockies were hitless against him with runners in scoring position.
"After the rough starts, nothing changed, just still trying to figure it out and figure out how to get the ball back down in the zone," Wacha said. "I worked on it in the bullpen and in between the last couple of starts and was able to get the ball down and make effective pitches down in the zone." More >
Laffey a little: The game had little pleasure for the Rockies, but lefty Aaron Laffey, in his second promotion from Triple-A Albuquerque, pitched three scoreless innings and struck out two, against three hits and a walk.
"It's always one of your worst nightmares when you have to go to the bullpen after one inning," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "Aaron was great. He did a real nice job, threw strikes, was efficient. He had thrown multiple innings [in his last outing], had a day off and threw multiple innings again."
"He's a good hitter. That's all there is to it. Good hitters go through rough times, too. It's never easy, and you think you're the one guy who will never figure it out again when you're in the middle of it, but you just stay with what's been successful, and Matt Carpenter is getting back there. -- Matheny, on Carpenter tallying six hits in the last two games
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Piscotty is just the sixth player in Cardinals history to hit safely in each of the first eight starts of his career. Those who did it before him include John Rodriguez (10 straight in 2005), Don Blasingame (9 in 1955-56), Walker Cooper (9 in 1940-41), Luis Melendez (8 in 1970) and Art Garibaldi (8 in 1936).
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
The umpires turned to replay to determine if Carpenter had hit his fourth home run in two nights, but video confirmed that Carpenter's line-drive to right field in the second inning did not clear the wall, but rather hit near the top of it. Carpenter settled for a double and was left stranded at second to end the inning.
WHAT'S NEXT Rockies: After struggling in his last two starts, Rockies left-hander Jorge De La Rosa (6-4, 5.03 ERA) hopes to find his form against the Cardinals on Saturday at 5:15 p.m. MT.
Cardinals: The Cardinals will continue their four-game series against the Rockies on Saturday at 6:15 p.m. CT with Lance Lynn taking the mound in search of his ninth win. Lynn ranks third in the National League with a 1.77 ERA at home this season.