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Cardinals' pitchers sparkle in doubleheader sweep

The SportsXchange

ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Cardinals began June the same way they played the first two months of the season -- getting dominant starting pitching.

Adam Wainwright followed Shelby Miller to the mound for the Cardinals for the night game of a day-night doubleheader against the San Francisco Giants Saturday and completed a sweep of the two games with a 7-1 victory.

Wainwright pitched his third complete game of the season, scattering nine hits, striking out 10 and not issuing a walk for the seventh time in his 12 starts. The win improved his record to 8-3 and lowered his ERA to 2.33. For the year he has 83 strikeouts and has issued only six walks in 89 innings.

In the afternoon game of the doubleheader, Miller tossed seven shutout innings as the Cardinals cruised to an 8-0 win after scoring seven runs against Matt Cain in the third inning. That raised Miller's record to 6-3 and lowered his ERA to 1.82.

The Cardinals were just the one run away from posting shutouts in both games of a doubleheader for the first time since 1987.

Saturday's pitching performances are really nothing new, as the two wins improved the Cardinals' starters combined record to 32-10 and lowered their combined ERA to 2.44, the best in the majors and the biggest reason the Cardinals are now 37-18, the best record in the major leagues. It was the fifth time this season Miller and Wainwright have posted victories in consecutive games.

The performance of the rotation has included starts from eight pitchers, thanks to injuries that have put Jaime Garcia, Jake Westbrook and John Gast on the disabled list. Three of the current members of the rotation -- Miller, Tyler Lyons and Michael Wacha -- are rookies.

"I've never seen a team bring up so many quality rookies," Wainwright said. "These guys are all very good pitchers. Guys just keep stepping up.

"The game is won or lost most of the time by the starting pitcher. If a starter goes out there and gives up five runs in the first inning almost all of the time you are going to lose that game. Our guys are taking it very seriously and they're ready for each game. I'm just trying to follow them."

Wainright knows it is just a matter of time when the offense will pick up the pitching, but until then it's the staff's mindset to go out and pitch a great game every day.

"Right now we've got a good roll going. These guys are using their talent. They are working hard, and we will stay right there and see where the chips fall at the end of the year."

Manager Mike Matheny could not have scripted the day any better to give his tired bullpen a rest.

"It starts with the pitching and our starters gave us a great opportunity today and we got some timely hitting," he said. "I'm real proud of the system and the way the young guys are able to come in and do their part and feel like they can contribute the way they have. It's fun to watch the young guys do it but it has to start really based on the veteran guys leading the way and creating an atmosphere where the young guys can feel like they can do what they normally do and not have the weight of the world on their shoulders."

The day was tough for the Giants, who have now lost seven consecutive road games and 15 of their last 19 away from San Francisco.

"It was a tough day, no getting around it," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy. "We scored one run. They played great. We didn't pitch great. We didn't hit the ball great. That's a good team over there. We didn't contain them."

Madison Bumgarner and Matt Cain were the victims of the Cardinals, as Bumgarner fell victim to a three-run third in the second game, suffering the same fate as Cain in game one.

"It just didn't happen to go our way today," Bumgarner said. "They're a good hitting team. You can't make mistakes to a team like this. If you do, a big inning happens.

"I feel we're just playing very well as a team right now but we will. We're going to come together and everything will start clicking. This stuff happens every year some time or another throughout the season. We'll get it together."

NOTES: The Giants' Marco Scutaro ended May with a .420 batting average, the best in the majors for the month, and struck out only three times in 100 at-bats. The last player to hit .420 for a month with 100 or more at-bats and three strikeouts or fewer was Tony Gwynn of the Padres in May 1997. ... Giants 3B Pablo Sandoval missed both games of the doubleheader because of a strained left foot, but he said he was feeling better and might not miss as many games as the Giants first feared when he was injured Thursday. ... The Cardinals finished May with a 20-7 record, their most wins in the month since going 19-7 in May 1971. The franchise record for wins in May is 21, last accomplished in 1941. ... The Cardinals did not lose consecutive games during the month. ... Cardinals pitcher Jake Westbrook will begin a rehab assignment with a start for Double-A Springfield on Tuesday. ... Saturday marked the first time the Cardinals and Giants have played a doubleheader since 1994, and the first time in St. Louis since 1978. ... In Sunday's series finale, Chad Gaudin (0-1, 2.05 ERA) will make his first start since 2009 for the Giants against the Cardinals' Tyler Lyons (2-0, 1.29 ERA).
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