ST. LOUIS -- It wasn't always pretty, but Michael Wacha gave the Cardinals a quality start Sunday afternoon.Wacha was hit hard early and then gave up a pair of unearned runs in the fourth, but he was able to limit the damage as the Cardinals' offense rallied for a 4-3
ST. LOUIS -- It wasn't always pretty, but Michael Wacha gave the Cardinals a quality start Sunday afternoon.
Wacha was hit hard early and then gave up a pair of unearned runs in the fourth, but he was able to limit the damage as the Cardinals' offense rallied for a 4-3 win over the Reds. Wacha gave up three runs in six innings, but just one of them was earned.
"Me and [catcher Eric] Fryer, we got on the same page there and I was starting to make some pitches down in the zone and get some swings and misses," Wacha said. "They've got an aggressive group over there, a lot of early swings where you've got to make your pitch early in the count, and I started to do that."
Zack Cozart lined Wacha's second pitch of the game into the right-field corner for a double and Eugenio Suarez followed with a single. But Wacha was able to limit the damage by picking off Suarez at first.
"First and third no outs, it was nice to get an out there," Wacha said. "I still got the sac fly, but just only one run there."
A pair of fielding errors, one by Wacha, led to the fourth-inning runs. Greg Garcia booted a Brandon Phillips ground ball to start the inning and Jay Bruce followed with a line shot up the middle off Wacha's glove. The ball dribbled behind the mound and Wacha grabbed it and threw wildly to first, allowing Phillips to score. Bruce eventually scored on a Devin Mesoraco hit.
Solo home runs by Jedd Gyorko and Matt Carpenter, along with a 3-for-3 day by Fryer, sparked the offense in support of Wacha, who got a no-decision. Fryer's eighth-inning double scored Aledmys Diaz for the game-winning run.
Wacha finished strong, picking up four of his five strikeouts in his last seven outs. He threw 56 of his 80 pitches for strikes, and it was his second straight quality start.
"He did a nice job of keeping it under control," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "I thought he did a much better job in the third of getting his timing to the point where he could get on top of the ball. ... Whenever he finds the bottom of the zone and uses that downhill plane, every pitch he has improves significantly."
Joe Harris is a contributor to MLB.com.