(BaseballStL) — After the first two games in the series felt like a marathon, the impromptu off day granted by the rain Wednesday was a breath of fresh air for the Cardinals.
In the final contest of a scheduled four-game set with the Cubs, Michael Wacha kept things fast and light, working seven innings in less than two hours, striking out five and scattering seven hits for two runs.
After getting four runs in the second- two of which came off his own bat, and another when he crossed the plate himself- Wacha kept the pressure on Chicago. He got ahead of every batter in the third with a strike and set the Cubs down in order.
“It’s definitely nice going out and getting those four runs. But once you get those runs, some pitchers tend to get complacent with their pitches,” he said after the game. “A hit here, a hit there. It’s important to stay on top of your game and keep pounding the zone.”
In the fourth, Anthony Rizzo bunted to beat the shift for the second time, and Wacha’s only major mistake of the day turned into a two-run shot from Starlin Castro. A follow-up single threatened to begin big inning, but the young starter handled the challenge by recording three strikeouts.
Wacha worked with efficiency, throwing 77 of his 104 pitches for strikes, and getting ahead of 21 of the 28 batters he faced. He got 22 called strikes, and walked none.
“I think walks- they only drive your pitch count up,” he smiled.
The 2:49 game was a brisk follow up to a rain out, and the Cardinals have won three of their last four games to sit at 21-20. Wacha had gone five starts without a win, and is now 3-3 on the season.