A few minor adjustments here and there. That was all it took for Michael Wacha to get back on track.
Wacha pitched seven crisp innings, Matt Carpenter homered for the third time in two games and the Cardinals beat the Colorado Rockies 7-0 on Friday night.
Jhonny Peralta added a two-run homer for the Cardinals (66-37), who have won eight of 11 to move a season-high 29 games over .500 for the third time this season. Stephen Piscotty had a two-run double to help St. Louis run its major league-best home record to 39-15.
The six-hitter for Wacha (12-4) and two relievers came after St. Louis bolstered its bullpen by acquiring Jonathan Broxton before the non-waiver trade deadline on Friday afternoon. The Cardinals sent minor league outfielder Malik Collymore to Milwaukee for Broxton, who will help set up for All-Star closer Trevor Rosenthal.
Colorado has lost seven of 10.
Wacha allowed four hits, struck out seven and walked one.
”He just had rhythm right from the start,” St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. ”Everything came out of his hand very effortlessly.”
Wacha had given up 13 earned runs in 17 innings over his last three starts, a far cry from his 7-0 start to the season. Following his previous start, a 3-2 loss to Atlanta on Sunday, Wacha made a few minor adjustments.
”I worked on it in the bullpen, tweaked a few things, and was able to keep the ball down,” he said. ”It felt really good. I was able to keep the ball down in the zone. I was pretty happy with the movement.”
Wacha threw seven or more scoreless innings during the regular season for the first time since Sept. 24, 2013, when he carried a no-hitter into the ninth inning of a 2-0 victory against Washington.
”He’s one of the best pitchers in the league,” Colorado manager Walt Weiss said. ”He’s got a real good fastball, he’s got a good changeup, and he’s got a good angle on his fastball. The ball just gets on you.”
Randy Choate and Seth Maness each pitched an inning after Wacha departed.
Carpenter, who hit two homers and drove in four runs in a 9-8 win over Colorado on Thursday, also had a double and reached three times.
Carpenter slammed a first-inning leadoff home run off right-hander Kyle Kendrick (4-12), who left after one inning with shoulder inflammation. It was Carpenter’s seventh career leadoff homer and third this season.
Kendrick, who has surrendered a major league-high 26 home runs, said his shoulder has been bothering him for a while.
”It’s been up and down and tonight it just kind of hurt,” he said. ”We’ll see what happens.”
Kendrick is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Monday in Denver.
St. Louis scored twice in first. Kolten Wong and Peralta followed with singles as four of the first six hitters reached safely. Jason Heyward added a sacrifice fly.
The Cardinals broke the game open with five runs in the sixth. Peralta hit his 15th homer off Christian Friedrich.
Piscotty bounced back after striking out twice. He hit a long double to left field to push the lead to 4-0.
”After striking out twice, I told myself there are two ways to handle this,” Piscotty said. ”I could curl up and hide or embrace it as an opportunity to redeem myself.”