ST. LOUIS — Shelby Miller retired the last 27 batters Friday night, finishing with a one-hitter. A day later, the St. Louis Cardinals rookie sat in the dugout and watched Adam Wainwright nearly top that feat.
Wainwright pitched no-hit ball into the eighth inning and finished with a two-hitter Saturday against the suddenly punchless Colorado Rockies in a 3-0 victory.
“I thought for sure he was going to throw a no-hitter,” the 22-year-old Miller said. “He was locked in. We both threw well and his was exciting to watch, especially.”
Wainwright doesn’t mind getting pushed by the team’s electric fifth starter who’s 5-2 with a 1.58 ERA.
“You follow Roger Clemens a couple times like I have been, it makes you focus a little bit more,” Wainwright said. “Once you see Shelby mow through a lineup like he has all year, you want to go out there and do it, too.
“Those guys will think there’s a new sheriff in town,” Wainwright added.
The Rockies had been hitless in 49 consecutive at-bats before Nolan Arenado lined a clean hit to center field with one out in the eighth. Eric Young led off Friday night’s game with a broken-bat single off Miller then failed to put a runner on until Todd Helton walked with one out in the fifth inning a day later.
“I’m just trying to hit the ball hard,” Arenado said. “I knew he wanted to get ahead with a strike and he threw one down and away. I got pretty lucky, I guess.”
The 49 at-bats is the longest hitless stretch since Sept. 25-27, 1981, when the Los Angeles Dodgers went 50 at-bats without a knock, according to STATS.
“I thought we were going to witness something pretty special,” manager Mike Matheny said. “You could see him finishing that off.
“What a great couple of days,” Matheny said.
After the hit, Wainwright (5-2) doffed his cap in appreciation during a prolonged standing ovation from a sellout crowd of 43,050, then quickly retired the next two hitters. He gave up a two-out single to Dexter Fowler in the ninth and matched his career best with a two-hitter.
“About the third or fourth inning, I could tell he was throwing everything for a strike and was doing whatever he wanted to do,” right fielder Allen Craig said. “You just never know how it’s going to go from there, but that was a lot of fun to be out there.
“He was close. Maybe next time,” added Craig.
Wainwright struck out seven for his second shutout of the season and sixth of his career. The Rockies have been shut out for 26 consecutive innings since Carlos Gonzalez hit a first-inning sacrifice fly against the Yankees on Thursday, and have had just one runner in scoring position the first two games of the series.
The Rockies entered Saturday as the highest-scoring team in the National League. Manager Walt Weiss wasn’t planning a meeting.
“You leave it alone,” Weiss said. “You know, everyone gets beat up a little bit in this game at some point, but our guys will keep grinding and we’ll to come out and try to turn it around (Sunday).”
Craig had three hits and a sacrifice fly and Yadier Molina had two hits and an RBI for the Cardinals, who have won nine of 10 and are a major league-best 23-12.
Wainwright has won five of his last six starts, recapturing his form as the staff ace in his second season coming off reconstructive elbow surgery. He has thrown a pair of two-hitters, the last on Aug. 6, 2010 at Florida.
Wainwright bounced back from his lone poor outing when he gave up five runs in 5 1-3 innings at Milwaukee his last time out. He’s 5-1 against the Rockies.
“I wanted to get back to the basics after the last start,” Wainwright said. “I wanted to attack the strike zone right away. Keep it simple, that was my focus today.”
Wainwright and Miller retired 40 consecutive batters with 18 strikeouts before Helton walked. He was stranded when Arenado fouled out and Reid Brignac grounded out.
All things appeared headed toward the no-hitter after Matt Carpenter made a sliding stab of a grounder about 10 feet onto the outfield grass behind second base for the first out in the eighth. Wainright smiled broadly at the play. Arenado, though, then singled.
The Cardinals loaded the bases with one out in the second and fourth, both times with the eighth and ninth-place hitter coming up. Both times, Jhoulys Chacin (3-2) escaped by striking out Pete Kozma and Wainwright.
They loaded them again in the fifth on singles by Carpenter, Jon Jay and Matt Holliday and took the lead on Craig’s sacrifice fly, with Matt Adams adding a two-out RBI single.
Matt Holliday, Craig and Molina hit consecutive singles off Josh Outman in the seventh to make it 3-0.
The Cardinals haven’t thrown a no-hitter since Bud Smith at San Diego in 2001, and haven’t had one at home since Bob Forsch threw the second of his career on Sept. 26, 1983, against the Expos.
Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki have each struck out five times the first two games.
CUBS 8, NATIONALS 2
WASHINGTON — Stephen Strasburg fell apart after one of third baseman Ryan Zimmerman’s two errors and wound up dropping his fifth consecutive decision as the Chicago Cubs beat the Washington Nationals 8-2 Saturday.
Edwin Jackson (1-5) worked into the sixth inning and hit a two-run double for good measure. He earned his first win under a $52 million, four-year contract he signed after leaving Washington as a free agent, and ended the Nationals’ five-game winning streak.
Strasburg (1-5) set down Chicago’s first 11 hitters, six via strikeout. But with two outs in the fifth, third baseman Zimmerman’s off-target throw put a runner on. Turned out to be Strasburg’s last inning, making for his shortest outing of 2013.
The NL All-Star’s only win this season came April 1 on opening day against the lowly Miami Marlins.
REDS 13, BREWERS 7
CINCINNATI — Jay Bruce homered his first time up, then doubled twice during a seven-run burst as the Cincinnati Reds delighted a sellout crowd, battering the Milwaukee Brewers.
Six different Reds players drove in two runs each, including starting pitcher Mat Latos (4-0). The defending NL Central champions moved five games over .500 for the first time this season.
Bruce led off a five-run second that was helped by a pair of fielding mistakes by left fielder Ryan Braun. Bruce opened the seven-run third with a double off Hiram Burgos (1-1) and capped it with an RBI double that made it 12-4.
GIANTS 10, BRAVES 1
SAN FRANCISCO — Madison Bumgarner struck out a season-high 11 over seven innings, Gregor Blanco entered in the fifth as a pinch hitter and drove in four runs, and the San Francisco Giants routed the Atlanta Braves.
Bumgarner (4-1) gave up just four hits and walked two, snapping a string of four starts without a victory.
Blanco had a three-run double and triple in setting a career high for RBIs.
Paul Maholm (4-4) lasted just 4 1-3 innings and was charged with six runs on eight hits.
PHILLIES 3, DIAMONDBACKS 1
PHOENIX — Cliff Lee pitched seven scoreless innings and Jimmy Rollins drove in a pair of runs and Philadelphia ended Arizona’s five-game winning streak.
Domonic Brown added an RBI single in the seventh for the Phillies, who snapped a three-game losing streak.
Lee (4-2) gave up six hits, struck out three and walked two in winning consecutive road starts for the first time since August 2011.
Down 2-0, Arizona loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh before pinch-hitter Will Nieves grounded out.
Jonathan Papelbon pitched the final 1 2-3 innings for his sixth save.
PIRATES 11, METS 2
NEW YORK — Francisco Liriano struck out nine and pitched into the sixth inning to win his debut with Pittsburgh and help the Pirates beat the New York Mets.
Jordy Mercer homered twice and Jose Tabata had four hits, including a two-run shot for the Pirates.
Liriano (1-0), returning from a broken non-throwing arm, allowed one run in 5 1-3 innings. He gave up six hits and two walks.
Jonathon Niese (2-4) tied a career high by allowing eight runs in 4 1-3 innings.
BLUE JAYS 3, RED SOX 2
BOSTON — Adam Lind hit a tiebreaking homer off Boston closer Junichi Tazawa leading off the ninth inning to lift the Toronto Blue Jays to a 3-2 win over the Boston Red Sox on Saturday.
It was just the fifth win in 16 games for the struggling Blue Jays, who blew a 2-0 lead in the eighth.
Lind belted a 2-2 pitch from Tazawa (2-2) into the center field bleachers, sending Boston to its seventh loss in nine games.
Darren Oliver (2-1) got the win despite giving up the tying run.
Casey Janssen pitched the ninth for his 10th save in 10 chances. He allowed a leadoff double, but got the next three hitters.
YANKEES 3, ROYALS 2
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Vernon Wells hit a go-ahead two-run homer then made a long running catch that preserved a victory for Andy Pettitte and the Yankees over the Royals.
Pettitte (4-2) showed off his mastery of the Royals once more, allowing a run-scoring groundout by Lorenzo Cain and a solo homer by Billy Butler in seven stellar innings. The 40-year-old left-hander gave up five hits, struck out seven and improved to 15-3 in his career against the Royals.
James Shields (2-3) was hurt by a throwing error on third baseman Mike Moustakas in the second inning that resulted in the Yankees’ first run. He also gave up Wells’ two-run shot in the fifth, moments after Butler’s home run had staked Kansas City to 2-1 lead.
David Robertson struck out the side in the eighth for the Yankees, and Mariano Rivera worked around a two-out double by Salvador Perez in the ninth for his 14th save to start the season.
TWINS 8, ORIOLES 5
MINNEAPOLIS — Ryan Doumit homered, Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau each had three hits, and the Twins beat the Orioles, who lost for just the second time in seven games.
Vance Worley struggled through 5 1-3 innings, but a strong performance by Minnesota’s bullpen enabled him to earn his first win in 13 starts dating to Aug. 1, 2012.
Matt Wieters connected for the Orioles.
Worley (1-4) gave up 11 hits and five earned runs. He struck out one but threw 111 pitches.
Making his season debut for the Orioles, starter Steve Johnson (0-1) cruised through the first two innings, before he began to get behind in counts and the Twins took advantage.
In four innings, he allowed seven hits and six earned runs while striking out three.
ANGELS 3, WHITE SOX 2
CHICAGO — Mike Trout hit a two-run homer and Jerome Williams pitched into the seventh inning to help the Angels beat the White Sox.
Williams (2-1) allowed two runs and scattered seven hits in 6 2-3 innings. He struck out three and walked one. After eight appearances out of the bullpen, Williams made his second start in place of the struggling Garrett Richards, who was filling in for injured Los Angeles ace Jered Weaver.
Jose Quintana (2-1) allowed three runs in the loss. He gave up five hits and struck out five.
The White Sox committed three errors in losing for the eighth time in 12 games.
INDIANS 7, TIGERS 6
DETROIT — Ubaldo Jimenez outpitched Justin Verlander, and Cleveland’s Chris Perez got Miguel Cabrera to hit a game-ending groundout with two on to preserve the Indians’ win over the Tigers.
Verlander (4-3) was erratic early, allowing three runs in the first two innings. He settled a bit after that, but the Indians took a 6-1 lead before Detroit closed the gap with a four-run seventh.
It was 7-5 when Perez allowed an unearned run in the ninth, but with men on first and second, Cabrera hit a weak grounder to third to end it.
It was Perez’s sixth save.
Jimenez (3-2) allowed a run and three hits in six innings, striking out eight with one walk. He’s won three straight starts for the first time since the Indians acquired him in a trade in 2011.
Jhonny Peralta hit a solo homer for Detroit.
RANGERS 8, ASTROS 7
HOUSTON — Adrian Beltre, Nelson Cruz and Lance Berkman all homered to back another solid outing by Yu Darvish, and the Rangers held on for a win over the Astros.
Darvish (6-1) yielded three hits and three runs, leaving after the seventh with an 8-3 lead.
Matt Dominguez homered twice off Darvish.
Houston led 3-1 before it was done in by its bullpen during a six-run sixth inning by the Rangers. Cruz, who also homered on Friday night, got things going with his two-run homer off reliever Philip Humber (0-8) that tied it. Pinch-hitter David Murphy put the Rangers on top with an RBI double.
Humber, who was moved out of the rotation this week, was rocked for five hits and five runs while getting only two outs.
ATHLETICS 4, MARINERS 3
SEATTLE — Josh Donaldson, Daric Barton and Brandon Moss hit solo home runs and Jarrod Parker pitched into the seventh to lead Oakland over Seattle.
Jed Lowrie had three hits and an RBI as the Athletics held on to snap a season-long five-game losing streak.
Parker (2-5) didn’t give up a hit until Kelly Shoppach’s two-out, two-run homer in the fifth inning. Parker did give up another two hits and a run before leaving in the seventh.
Grant Balfour pitched the ninth for his sixth save. The Mariners had runners on first and second with two outs, but Balfour got Kyle Seager to ground out to end the game.
RAYS 8, PADRES 7
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Evan Longoria hit a two-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning off Padres closer Huston Street, rallying the Rays to a victory.
Street (0-2) retired the first two batters in the ninth before walking Ben Zobrist on a full count. Longoria followed with his ninth home run, handing Street his first blown save in nine tries this season.
The Rays won their fourth straight, coming back after Jesus Guzman’s pinch-hit grand slam off Jeremy Hellickson helped San Diego overcame a 6-2 deficit in the seventh.
Cesar Ramos (1-0) got the win. The Rays moved up to .500 for the first time since April 7.
James Loney hit a two-run homer as the Rays roughed up San Diego’s Burch Smith in the second inning of his major league debut. The Rays scored six runs on five hits and a couple of walks in the inning and drove Smith out of the game.