DENVER -- Rockies rookie right-hander Antonio Senzatela didn't want to merely live by the fastball. He wanted to pitch with a pinpoint fastball.
After two games of less-than immaculate fastball command, Senzatela found his aim Friday night and buzzed through the Cardinals for a career-high eight innings in the Rockies' 10-0 victory at Coors Field.
The fastball was so spot-on that it made his best secondary pitch -- his slider -- devastating. He used it all four times when he extracted double-play grounders from Cardinals hitters.
Senzatela (7-1), who is tied with the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw, the Astros' Dallas Keuchel and the Twins' Ervin Santana for the Majors' lead in wins, had labored in his last two starts. He went five innings and gave up four runs in each. But Senzatela, 22, knew the fix was simple.
"My last bullpen [session], I tried to throw the ball down," Senzatela said. "It comes back to fastball command. I had it today."
The first time through the order, Senzatela threw his fastball for 35 of the 40 pitches. Because he hit both sides of the plate, the Cardinals had to be in swing mode. That made them ripe for double-play grounders.
"Obviously there's a bit of deception or extra life that he has," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "He used a lot of hard fastballs, pounding the strike zone, and just swings that were just off.
"Every time we'd get something going, he was able to put enough of something different that would get a ground ball, and they had four double plays. That counts for a lot of putting out fires. We just couldn't get much going."
The fact that Senzatela appreciated the defensive help impressed center fielder Charlie Blackmon, who finished a double shy of the cycle and helped Senzatela with three RBIs.
"He's super mature," Blackmon said. "You see him in the dugout, he's always in control. He's complimentary to his teammate. He's not just totally locked in, absorbed in himself. He's trying to win the game, and he cares about everybody else."