The Bottom Line: Behind the back of Matt Holliday’s solo homer and seven shutout innings from Adam Wainwright, the Cardinals held on for a 1-0 win at Tampa Bay on Tuesday. Matt Holliday returned to the lineup after being scratched for Sunday’s game because of a sore lower back, and he turned out to be the difference maker for the Cardinals. He lined a two-out solo homer, his fourth of the season, to left field in the sixth inning to break the scoreless tie. Closer Trevor Rosenthal worked out of a two-out, bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the eighth inning and finished the ninth inning to earn a four-out save, his 17th of the season.
Pitchers Duel: Wainwright (9-3, 2.15 ERA) became the first nine-game winner in the National League, but it did not come easy. Although Wainwright pitched seven shutout innings, it was apparent that he did not have his best stuff tonight. Wainwright allowed seven hits and two walks, recorded only two strikeouts, and had more flyouts (6) than groundouts (4). Nonetheless, Waino was incredibly tough with runners in scoring position, as he got out of a two-out, bases-loaded jam in the fourth inning and stranded eight Rays on base.
Hailing from a town 30 miles east of St. Louis, Rays pitcher Jake Odorizzi (2-7, 4.85 ERA) had his best start of the season against his former favorite team. Odorizzi worked efficiently by getting ahead of many Cardinals hitters, as he threw 70 strikes out of 104 pitches. Before tonight, Odorizzi had a 1.53 WHIP and had not pitched past six innings, but he lasted 7 1/3 innings, carried a no-hitter until the fifth inning, and only allowed three total hits.
Tale of Two Teams: With yet another shutout victory, the Cardinals have not allowed a run for 27 innings and have won three straight games on the road. On the other hand, the Rays have not scored a run in 28 innings and have now lost 14 of 15 games.