By Jenifer Langosch and Thomas Harding
ST. LOUIS -- Buoyed by Chad Bettis' fifth quality start of the season, the Rockies ran their winning streak to five by opening a three-game series at Busch Stadium with a 3-1 victory over the Cardinals on Tuesday.
"Something that I try make sure I do every time I go out is keep the ball down and make them roll over to our infielders," said Bettis, who forced 11 ground-ball outs in 6 2/3 innings, struck out four and held the Cards to five hits and two walks.
Bettis outpitched Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia, who remains winless in six career starts against Colorado. Garcia was peppered for five singles and hurt by four walks as the Rockies built an early three-run lead. A two-out single by Nolan Arenado plated a third-inning run. Garcia, stung by a leadoff walk, allowed another two runs in the fourth before bowing out an inning later. It was his third five-inning start of the season.
The fourth featured small-ball from the Rockies -- a hit-and-run from Dustin Garneau with two on for one run, a slug-bunt from Bettis for the other.
"There are times when you have to score like that," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "You're not going to slug every night in this league. The air was real wet and heavy, and the park was playing huge tonight."
The Rockies, now 12-8 on the road this season, built their lead as Bettis held the Cardinals hitless until the fifth, and scoreless until Randal Grichuk's pinch-hit single drove home a run in the seventh.
"It's not that you focus more [in a pinch-hit at-bat]," said Grichuk. "I think it's more [you're] going to be aggressive on pitches over the plate. I feel like being aggressive works well to my advantage."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Short or long, the work is the same: Sometimes, lefty reliever Boone Logan works a full inning. Monday, it was just one batter. But Logan entered with two out and two on, and forced Matt Carpenter into a grounder -- DJ LeMahieu sprawled to grab it, then threw Carpenter out from his knees -- to preserve a 3-1 lead and keep Bettis in position to win. Logan has made 14 straight scoreless appearances and limited hitters to a .184 batting average (9-for-49).
"Boone did a great job there, got us a ground ball -- that's a big out in that situation," LeMahieu said.
Just short: Seeing that his club might have few scoring opportunities against Bettis, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny replaced Garcia with pinch-hitter Brandon Moss with two on and one out in the bottom of the fifth. Moss, tied for the team lead in home runs, drove a ball to deep center, but it fell just short of the wall. Carpenter followed with another deep fly ball, this one caught on the right-field warning track. Two runners were left stranded in scoring position.
"It was really the first time all season that it looked like the ball didn't carry like we hoped and like it had all season," Matheny said. "If Carp gets into that ball with two guys on, that's a 3-3, tie game."
One barrier down, one to go: Bettis struggled late in his previous starts, posting ERAs of 7.36 in the sixth inning and 27.00 in the seventh. Bettis put down the sixth without the ball leaving the infield. He had two out in the seventh, but gave up hits to Aledmys Diaz, Kolten Wong and pinch-hitter Grichuk before giving way to Logan.
Walk this way: Garcia issued a season-high four walks, one of which sparked a two-run fourth inning for the Rockies. Garcia had entered the night having walked just one in 14 innings this month. The walks not only complicated innings for the left-hander, but they also elevated his pitch count, which sat at 82 when he exited after the fifth.
"I think it was just missing off the plate," Garcia said. "They really have a good lineup over there, and they weren't swinging at pitches close the plate. But again, no excuse. I have to be better than that next time."
"Chad just pitched unbelievable today. That game goes to him. He pitched well, we did the little things well. That's a big win to start a tough road trip." -- LeMahieu on a victory that tipped off a nine-game road trip against the Cardinals, Pirates and Red Sox.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
The Cardinals lost their challenge in the fifth inning after an unsuccessful attempt to have an out call at second base overturned. In question was whether LeMahieu had his foot on the base as Jeremy Hazelbaker slid in. The call stood after a two-minute, one-second review.
WHAT'S NEXT Rockies: After pitching five scoreless innings on May 1 upon moving into the starting rotation, lefty Chris Rusin has given up 23 hits over 10 innings in his last two starts. The good news is he hasn't given up a home run as a starter or a reliever. The ability to keep the ball in the park will be an asset as he hopes to regain his best form against the Cardinals on Wednesday at Busch Stadium at 6:15 p.m. MT.
Cardinals: Looking to bounce back from a five-inning, seven-run start against the Angels in his last start, Adam Wainwright will start for the Cardinals in their 7:15 p.m. CT game against the Rockies. Though Wainwright has a 6.80 season ERA, he holds a 7-1 record and 1.45 ERA in 12 career appearances (eight starts) versus Colorado.