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Cardinals ride big 4th to sweep of Rockies

MLB.com

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals' offense roared loudly and often on Wednesday night, notching 15 hits against the Rockies behind a solid Carlos Martinez to sweep the series with a 10-5 win at Busch Stadium.

Catcher Yadier Molina put the game out of reach with a two-out two-run double in the sixth inning. He also led off a five-run fourth that featured a two-run double by Matt Carpenter that took the early lead away from Colorado.

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ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals' offense roared loudly and often on Wednesday night, notching 15 hits against the Rockies behind a solid Carlos Martinez to sweep the series with a 10-5 win at Busch Stadium.

Catcher Yadier Molina put the game out of reach with a two-out two-run double in the sixth inning. He also led off a five-run fourth that featured a two-run double by Matt Carpenter that took the early lead away from Colorado.

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"Fourth inning, we were able to get the walks and get the timely hits. Having some damage and speed helps; we're not getting doubled up," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of the offense. "It's exciting to watch when guys get in a good rhythm and they're expecting good things to happen."

Colorado third baseman Nolan Arenado put together another impressive effort, recording three RBIs -- two on a homer in the first -- to stretch his Major League-leading total to 89. He also leads all National League players with 27 RBIs in July. His efforts were not enough, however, as starter Jeff Hoffman allowed seven runs (six earned) for a second consecutive game. He gave up seven hits and walked three, but ultimately needed 88 pitches for just four innings.

"We didn't pitch well two of the three games," said Rockies manager Bud Black, whose team holds the second NL Wild Card spot -- 1 1/2 behind the D-backs and four games ahead of the Brewers, who dropped out of the NL Central lead and behind the Cubs in the division. "When your starter in Game 1 [Antonio Senzatela] and Game 3 [Hoffman] only go four innings and give up a number of runs, it makes it awful tough."

Rockies add veteran 'pen presence in Neshek

Hoffman said he was hurt by a check-swing that cemented a walk before a two-run homer by Paul DeJong and a borderline ball four to Harrison Bader that loaded the bases in the fourth, but said he tried to push those aside.

Bader having a blast in the bigs, and it shows

"Those calls get made every game, but for the most part, I feel like I do a decent job and try to make the next pitch," Hoffman said. "But I'm not going to sit here and say it doesn't affect the course of an inning or how you go about the next move."

Video: COL@STL: Hoffman strikes out Grichuk in the 2nd

Multiple wild pitches and passed balls by the Rockies' battery, in addition to an error by Charlie Blackmon, gave the Cardinals the assistance they needed to run away with the game.

Video: COL@STL: Wong crosses the plate on a wild pitch

Aside from two early two-run innings, Martinez put together a nice performance for his first win since June 16. He struck out eight, but allowed five runs on seven hits. The win was his first of the season when allowing five or more runs.

"[Martinez] did a nice job today," Matheny said. "His last inning probably was his best. He pitched a little more. Up until then he was firing stuff, and he can get away with the movement and the velocity."

With the win, the Cardinals kept pace in the NL Central and moved to 3 1/2 games back.

Video: COL@STL: Carlos Martinez strikes out Blackmon

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Martinez magic: The Cardinals' offense exploded in the fourth, but it was Martinez's RBI single that truly kept the inning alive. Martinez extended a tough six-pitch at-bat -- which included him slamming his bat in frustration after the second strike.

"It really frustrated me, because I knew that was the pitch I could hit, and it really frustrated me," Martinez said through a translator. "But I didn't let myself lose focus, and I really stayed in until I was able to get it."

On the sixth pitch, Martinez singled to plate the game-tying run. The RBI gave him eight on the season, which is second among Major League pitchers behind teammate Adam Wainwright. The hit also extended the inning, in which the Cardinals eventually scored five runs.

"After I got my hit, everyone else started hitting," Martinez said.

Video: COL@STL: Carlos Martinez plates Grichuk with single

DeJong stays hot: After the Rockies took an early lead in the first inning on Arenado's two-run homer, the Cardinals quickly responded. DeJong continued his impressive July by hitting a 396-foot two-run homer to center. He now has the most home runs (eight) in the month of July by a Cardinals rookie, with four games to go.

"Today we showed a lot of fight on the offense today, scored a lot of runs, everyone contributed," DeJong said. "[I] was happy to get it going in that first inning there." Video: COL@STL: DeJong goes the other way for two-run homer

QUOTABLE
"I think we just had everything we're looking for. The starting pitching has been good, and we've been able to finish. We also gave our pitching a little more room by being able to put up double digits, makes things look a lot better. Guys made plays the whole series." -- Matheny, on what worked in the series sweep

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Molina recorded his 324th RBI, putting him in a tie with Rick Ferrell for 16th all time among catchers.

Video: COL@STL: Molina drives in two with a double to left

AFTER FURTHER REVIEW
In the third inning, DJ LeMahieu singled on a line drive to right field, where Randal Grichuk struggled to grab hold of the ball. Grichuk was able to make a strong throw to DeJong at second, but LeMahieu was called safe. After a 31-second review, the call was overturned for the second out of the inning, as DeJong kept the tag on the runner as he slid off the base.

Video: COL@STL: Cards challenge LeMahieu double in the 3rd

In the eighth inning, the Cardinals made their second challenge of the night in hopes of ending the Rockies' chance to get runs across the board late. Carlos Gonzalez hit a ground ball to second baseman Kolten Wong. Wong threw to Carpenter just before Gonzalez crossed first, but the runner was ruled safe. After a 49-second review, the call was overturned, as Carpenter did indeed have his foot on his bag to make the catch before Gonzalez reached.

Video: COL@STL: Cards get CarGo after call overturned

The Rockies made their own challenge in the eighth, questioning whether Grichuk had safely reached first in a foot race after his short ground ball. After a review of two minutes and 11 seconds, the call was upheld, resulting in Grichuk setting a career high with a four-hit game. Video: COL@STL: Rockies challenge Grichuk single in the 8th

WHAT'S NEXT
Rockies: Righty German Marquez, who has fanned 23 in 20 innings while winning his last three starts, will face the Nationals and righty Tanner Roark on Friday night in the opener of three against the National League East leaders at Nationals Park.

Cardinals: St. Louis will continue its seven-game homestand with a four-game series vs. Arizona beginning on Thursday at 6:15 p.m. CT. With Adam Wainwright being placed on the 10-day disabled list on Tuesday, Luke Weaver is expected to be called up to make his first start of the season. Weaver has made two relief appearances with St. Louis this year, allowing three hits and no runs over three innings.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page.

Alaina Getzenberg is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Louis.