CINCINNATI (AP) — Mike Matheny enjoyed the St. Louis Cardinals’ best all-around game in a while so much, he wouldn’t mind seeing a replay.
“I’ll go rewatch it,” Matheny said after the 9-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday. “Good starting pitching, clean defense, clean bullpen, timely hitting, got momentum early. I’m really looking forward to (Thursday).”
Dexter Fowler homered for the third straight game while Matt Carpenter and Paul DeJong also homered as St. Louis gained ground in their National League playoff push.
Tommy Pham finished with two doubles, a single and two RBIs and Yadier Molina added a two-run double as the third-place Cardinals (79-72) gained a game on first-place Chicago and second-place Milwaukee in the Central Division and on Colorado in the wild-card race.
Rookie right-hander Luke Weaver retired 10 straight batters in one stretch on the way to his seventh straight winning start, the major leagues’ longest active streak.
According to post-game notes provided by the Reds, Weaver is the first Cardinals starting pitcher to have seven consecutive wins in a season since Matt Morris in 2001 and the first St. Louis rookie to do so since Ted Walks in 1944.
The 24-year-old rookie allowed five hits and two runs with seven strikeouts in five innings. He credited his curveball with helping make up for an inconsistent changeup.
“I haven’t had a chance to assess the outing,” he said. “I had more curveballs in the mix. It was nice to be able to throw them in different counts.”
Weaver’s curve also impressed Matheny.
“It worked better than it’s worked in other starts” Matheny said. “He made pitches on both sides of the plate when he needed to.
“He threw the ball really well,” Matheny added. “The fastball was coming out of his hand as good as I’ve seen. He had late life, and he got some big strikeouts when he needed them.“.
Weaver (7-1) has fanned seven or more batters in each of his last seven starts.
Weaver was savoring his contributions to the Cardinals’ playoff push.
“it’s awesome,” he said. “There’s lot of good nerves building up. These games, you get a little more amped up. There are a lot of meaningful games. You try not to put too much pressure on yourself.”
Relievers Zach Duke, Seung Hwan Oh, Sandy Alcantara and Sam Tuivailala teamed up to retire the 12 of the final 13 Reds batters.
Carpenter led off the game with his 21st homer. Fowler followed Pham’s RBI double in the third with a two-run shot into the right field seats. It was his career-high 18th homer of the season. DeJong added his team-high 24th, the Cardinals’ second set of back-to-back homers in two nights.
The Reds broke up Weaver’s shutout bid with a two-run fifth. Patrick Kivlehan’s drove in Jose Peraza from first with a double and scored on Jesse Winker’s single.
“I got a little out of synch,” he said. “I threw some average pitches and they put some good swings on them.”
Rookie Davis (1-3) gave up all three homers and five runs on five hits with three strikeouts in three innings.
Carpenter’s leadoff homer was the 14th of his career, his second this season, and the fourth given up by Reds pitchers in 2017.
RHP John Gant will take RHP Jack Flaherty’s place St. Louis’s starting rotation, Matheny said Wednesday. Flaherty has logged a combined 6 1/3 innings over his last two starts. Gant made seven starts last season and none this year.
RHP Keury Meila became the 17th Reds player to make his major league debut when he relieved Davis in the fourth. Seventeen major league debuts lead the major leagues, according to the Reds.
Cardinals: Carpenter returned to the starting lineup on Wednesday after not starting Tuesday because of bursitis in his right shoulder that has plagued him for much of the season.
Reds: CF Billy Hamilton was activated from the 10-day disabled list (fractured left thumb), but he most likely will be limited to pinch-running and defense for at least a couple of days until he proves he can handle a bat without aggravating the injury.