ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Adam Wainwright gave another dazzling performance on Wednesday afternoon at Great American Ballpark as the Cardinals (64-49) completed the sweep of the Cincinnati Reds (64-51) with a 6-1 victory. St. Louis reclaims sole possession of first place in the NL Central Division for the first time since August 1. Colby Rasmus’ excellent batting discipline in the fifth inning supplied all the run support needed as he celebrated his 24th birthday with his first career grand slam (19).
The victory did not only mark a sweep for the Cardinals, but displayed their dominance of the Reds in 2010. St. Louis improved to 10-5 on the year against their new rivals. They have outscored the Reds 86-53. In the three-game sweep, the Redbirds lead in all 27 innings outscoring them 21-8.
“We got everything working; we’re a good club”, manager Tony LaRussa remarked, “I’ve said since May that Cincinnati is a legitimate ball club.”
Entering the series, starting pitching appeared to be an advantage for the Cardinals. That notion held true through all three games. Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia and Wainwright combined to throw for 19.1 innings. Cincinnati starters pitched for a total of 14 innings.
Wainwright (17-6, 1.99) made his seventh career start against Cincinnati on Wednesday. Five of the starts have now come at Great American Ballpark. Before the start, Wainwright was 2-3 with a 4.68 ERA against the Reds. He had allowed 10 home runs in those six starts.
None of those numbers mattered on Wednesday as the Cy Young candidate pitched seven innings not allowing a run and just four base runners. Two of those base runners reached by error. ‘Waino’ struck out four, while getting fourteen ground ball outs. “The heat was relentless, so I really had no time for strike outs”, Wainwright said, “So you have to go out there and get the ground balls and make your defense work.”
Before Colby launched the grand slam to center field, the Reds elected to intentionally walk Albert Pujols after a double from Jon Jay, and the move backfired for the second day in a row. Matt Holliday drew the third walk from starter Bronson Arroyo (12-7, 3.99) to load the bases for the birthday boy, and he did not disappoint.
The at-bat was perhaps Rasmus’ most impressive of the season. “When he’s been good this year, that’s what he’s been doing”, Tony LaRussa said about the patience displayed.
That was the third time this year a Cardinal hit their first career grand slam at Great American Ballpark. Yadier Molina did it on opening day while Skip Schumaker hit his first on Monday night. Going back to 2009, the Cardinals have hit five grand slams in that hitter friendly park.
Yadier Molina and Skip Schumaker added RBI’s in the seventh to give the Cardinals a commanding 6-0 lead. After the bottom of the inning, a rain delay paused the game for just over forty minutes. The Reds got on the scoreboard in the eighth, but the Cardinals bullpen was able to stop the rally.
Regarding the brawl on Tuesday night, the animosity created by the two clubs did not appear to be evident during the game on Wednesday. Some former teammates, like Scott Rolen and Chris Carpenter, were seen on the field before the game talking for several minutes. Any immediate bad blood looked to be put on hold for the time being. Major League Baseball will soon make their own decisions if any additional discipline is necessary.
- This is the first sweep for the Cardinals at Great American Ballpark since May 2-4, 2005.
- When Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright start for the Cardinals, the club is now 35-14.
- The Cardinals are now 15 games over .500 for the first time in 2010.
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