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Wacha, Carpenter pull Cards out of funk

KANSAS CITY -- Michael Wacha and Matt Carpenter have been models of stability all season for the Cardinals.

So, when the club hit its first real bump in the road with a three-game losing streak, it figured that Wacha and Carpenter would be two of the main guys to help put St. Louis back on a smooth course.

After a couple of tough nights in the I-70 Series, Wacha and Carpenter came up huge on Sunday in the Cards' 6-1 victory over the Royals. Wacha became the first seven-game winner in the National League and first pitcher in the Majors with a seven-game win streak. Not only is Wacha 7-0, but the Cardinals are 9-0 in games he has started.

Carpenter said on days that Wacha is starting, the Cardinals have the same confidence they had when Adam Wainwright was at the top of his game.

"Every time he goes out there, you feel you are going to win the game," Carpenter said.

Video: STL@KC: Carpenter lines two-run for 500th career hit

The Cardinals gave Wacha a two-run cushion in the first inning, but an unearned run in the fifth for Kansas City made it 2-1. The Royals had their fans buzzing until Carpenter restored the St. Louis momentum by lining a two-run homer off Yordano Ventura just inside the right-field foul pole.

Wacha then saw the Royals load the bases with two outs in the sixth before a key battle against Alex Gordon went Wacha's way. Wacha fell behind, 2-0, but wound up getting Gordon on a fly ball to right.

Video: STL@KC: Wacha retires Gordon to leave bases loaded

"I missed with a couple of fastballs in," Wacha said. "I knew I didn't want to go 3-0 on him, so I just had to try and paint the inside corner. Luckily, I got it in there enough."

The Cardinals added a couple of tack-on runs in the eighth. If not for that insurance, manager Mike Matheny said he would have brought Wacha back out to start the eighth.

Wacha is the first Cardinals pitcher to start 7-0 since Matt Morris started the 2005 season 8-0.

"We continue to watch him improve," Matheny said of Wacha. "We've watched Michael be very special in some big situations as a young pitcher. As he has been able to add confidence and add pitches ... we're watching him take advantage. We just want to keep him moving in a positive direction and thinking about what's the next step."

The Cardinals were able to leave Kauffman Stadium on a note of satisfaction after being somewhat frustrated that they didn't have a chance to play longer in a rain-shortened 3-2 loss on Saturday that was called after 5 1/2 innings.

Thanks largely to Wacha and Carpenter, the Cards quickly got that bad taste out of their mouths.

"Not getting a win today would have hurt," Carpenter said. "It's nice to end on a good note."

Robert Falkoff is a contributor to
Read More: St. Louis Cardinals, Michael Wacha, Matt Carpenter