'Lucky bat' comes through for Wainwright

April 21st, 2017

MILWAUKEE -- 's lucky bat contributed two final blows in the Cardinals' 6-3 win Friday before suffering a happy death.

Two pitches after he hit a soft grounder down the third-base line that would have been an easy out but was foul by a few inches, Wainwright turned around a 96 mph fastball from for a two-run home run into the second deck in left field to give St. Louis a 2-1 lead in the third inning.

Wainwright later added a two-run single off Peralta in the fourth, matching his career high in RBIs with four. But in his third at-bat, Wainwright broke his bat while hitting into a double play against in the sixth inning.

"The next one is lucky too," Wainwright said. "They are all lucky."

Peralta nearly retired Wainwright twice in the third inning, first on the foul grounder and then on a check swing on a slider in the dirt. Wainwright held up to stay alive, then sent the following offering 415 feet.

"I crushed it," Wainwright said. "We needed that. Wily has been pitching really good this year. He came in 3-0 with a low ERA. He's been working ahead and working hitters very tough. From a lineup standpoint, if a pitcher can do anything positive to influence the game, it's great. I was proud of it. We needed a knock right there."

He's just the second Cardinals pitcher to drive in at least four runs in multiple games, joining Bob Gibson, who tallied four or more RBIs in a game four times.

The third-inning blast was the ninth of Wainwright's career and his third against the Brewers, the only team he has hit more than one home run against.

Miller Park is also the only visiting stadium Wainwright has homered more than once in, as he previously homered off Jeff Suppan on May 26, 2009, in Milwaukee. His first career home run against the Brewers came off at Busch Stadium on April 16, 2008.

More importantly for the Cardinals, Wainwright put together his best outing of the season on the mound.

He entered Thursday's start against the Brewers with a 7.24 ERA in three starts, having allowed double-digit hits in consecutive games for the first time in his career.

Milwaukee struck for an early run in the second inning when Peralta sneaked a two-out, seeing-eye single back up the middle to plate , who had tripled into the right-field corner.

"I think that [ticked] him off," Peralta said. "That's an RBI that I got, and he got four after that."

Wainwright struck out four straight after Peralta's single and fanned three of the final four batters he faced after surrendering a two-out RBI double to in the fourth.

"Everything just looked sharp," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "You saw different swings on the breaking ball, and the cutter looked good. He was locating that fastball and finishing pitches with it, putting it on the outside and inside. I think that's going to be very important for him. He had good life on it too. It was just a good outing."

The next step for Wainwright will be working deeper into the game, as he has yet to throw a pitch in a sixth inning this season after needing 100 pitches to get through five innings Friday.

"I never had stuff like that one game last year," Wainwright said. "Even if I'd throw a complete-game shutout, I was just making stuff up out there last year.

"This year, I have great stuff. I have to be more efficient. If you have nine strikeouts in five innings, you should be able to parlay that stuff into seven or eight innings."