Righty snaps 7-game losing streak with solid outing in finale
By Sarah Trotto
Special to MLB.com |
CHICAGO -- Michael Wacha snapped the longest active losing streak in the Majors against a team he has struggled against.
Wacha allowed two runs and three hits, struck out five and walked two in 6 2/3 innings as the Cardinals beat the Cubs, 7-2, Wednesday to complete their first three-game sweep at Wrigley Field since May 1988.
Wacha ended a career-high seven-game losing streak and lowered his ERA to 4.41. He had last won April 23 against the Padres.
"It's been a while, for sure," said Wacha, who as an All-Star last season went 17-7 with a 3.38 ERA. "It's nice to finally get a 'W.' I don't really think about it too much, the wins. It's more of just a self-evaluation after each start of how I pitched. Wins are an added bonus. It's a good feeling."
Wacha also bested reigning National League Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta, who allowed two runs (one earned) in five innings.
"I'm not going to prepare myself in a different way just because of who I'm facing," Wacha said. "I just see the lineup, and I'm going to try to go out there and attack them the best I can and give the team a chance to win a ballgame."
Wacha was 3-4 with a 5.90 ERA in 50 1/3 innings against the Cubs -- and 0-3 with a 10.89 ERA in his previous four starts against the NL Central leaders. He exited after allowing a two-run home run to rookie Willson Contreras in the seventh.
Wacha has been better in his past three starts, allowing five earned runs in 21 1/3 innings.
"Continuing to build on where he's been," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "I thought this was his best one."
The defense helped the right-hander. In the fourth, left fielder Brandon Moss made a running, sliding catch on a fly ball struck by Jason Heyward. Moss then fired to first base to double up Chris Coghlan, who ran past second base. The play prevented a possible run, as Kris Bryant walked and Anthony Rizzo singled for the Cubs' first hit before Ben Zobrist grounded out to end the inning.
"I just told him, 'Heck of a play,'" Wacha said about Moss. "It changed the inning completely around. He's a guy you can put in the outfield or first base. He can play around the field. So it's a good commodity to have."
With the sweep, the Cardinals bounce back from an 0-5 homestand against the Astros and Rangers.
"We were right there in all those games against the Rangers," Wacha said. "We battled that series. We kept battling in this series."
Sarah Trotto is a contributor to MLB.com based in Chicago. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.