ST. LOUIS – Albert Pujols launched a pinch-hit grand slam and drove in five runs, Adam Wainwright pitched seven sharp innings and the St. Louis Cardinals routed the Colorado Rockies 13-0 Thursday for a three-game sweep.
“We’re playing right now, I think the way that we were expecting ourselves to play early in the year,” Pujols said. “We didn’t, but we had some glimpses here and there. Now we’re playing the best baseball we have played all year long.”
Wainwright called Pujols “incredible.”
“He looks the same as when he left to me,” Wainwright said. “This is what he’s supposed to look like, here this stadium, doing these things.”
The Elias Sports Bureau said the Cardinals were the first team in big league history to have a player at least 40 years old hit a grand slam and another at least 40 to pitch seven shutout innings in the same game. Pujols is 42, two years older than Wainwright.
The Rockies lost starting pitcher Antonio Senzatela and right fielder Charlie Blackmon in the second inning to leg injuries. Senzatela crumpled to the ground after attempting to cover first base and Blackmon was removed an inning after beating out an infield single.
Rockies manager Bud Black said Blackmon is not expected to go on the injured list, but will probably not start in the next game. He wasn’t as confident on Senzatela’s outlook. Both players will be re-evaluated tomorrow.
“Antonio is going to get a MRI in the morning,” Black said. “He definitely has a (left) knee sprain to a certain extent. How significant? We won’t know until tomorrow. Devastating, right?”
The NL Central-leading Cardinals won their fourth in a row and sent Colorado to its fifth straight loss. St. Louis has won 12 of its last 13 home games and has taken 12 straight from the Rockies at Busch Stadium.
Pujols hit his 690th career home run, connecting off Austin Gomber and capping a five-run third that made it 10-0. It was Pujols’ 16th career grand slam — his first as a pinch hitter — and it moved him into a tie with Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth and Dave Kingman for 10th-most slams of all-time.
Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said went with the unconventional decision to pinch-hit Pujols in the third inning for designated hitter Brendan Donovan because he liked the matchup against Gomber.
“He’s been killing lefties,” Marmol said. “The game’s never over, but you can put the game away there with a good swing and it's always good to get the crowd engaged. We felt good about it and he did his job.”
Pujols added an RBI single.
“I think at the end of the day, just being part of a great organization, a great group of guys that want to win, young players they’re watching, I’m blessed to be here, and just help those guys out,” Pujols said. “It’s fun, trust me.”
Wainwright (10-9) gave up three hits, two of them infield singles. He struck out seven, walked none and retired his final 13 batters.
“My job today it was just to not mess it up,” he said. “The offense was the story. They were incredible you know and Albert hitting the grand slam, I mean we’re just kind of like living in his shadow right, which is where we should be.”
Génesis Cabrera and Chris Stratton each pitched a scoreless inning of relief to complete the four-hitter.
Lars Nootbaar hit a two-run homer. Paul Goldschmidt added two doubles and a single.
Senzatela (3-7) struggled prior to his injury, giving up five runs in 1 2/3 innings. The right-hander is 0-5 with a 6.41 ERA in his eight road starts this season.
The Cardinals’ win streak over the Rockies at Busch dates to Aug. 1, 2018. It is the second-longest home winning streak against a club for the Cardinals, one shy of their 13 in a row against the Cubs from Oct. 3, 1999, to June 16, 2001.
The Cardinals did not commit an error in any of the six games during the homestand. It was their first errorless homestand of six or more games since Aug. 1-7, 2008. St. Louis went 5-1 in the games against Colorado and Milwaukee.
Rockies: C Elias Díaz (left wrist sprain) took swings Thursday and is playing catch pain free. ... RHP Chad Kuhl (right hip flexor strain) will make a rehab start for Triple-A Albuquerque on Saturday night.
Cardinals: LHP Steven Matz (left MCL tear) will throw off a mound this weekend. RHP Jack Flaherty (right shoulder strain) is expected to throw 65-70 pitches for Double-A Springfield on Sunday.
Rockies: RHP José Ureña (1-4, 4.80 ERA) will start the first of a three-game series against visiting San Francisco and RHP Logan Webb (11-5, 3.00 ERA) on Friday night. Ureña is 0-3 with a 7.77 ERA over his last five starts.
Cardinals: RHP Miles Mikolas (9-9, 3.44 ERA) will begin a three-game series at Arizona, which will start LHP Tommy Henry (2-1, 4.15 ERA) on Friday night. Mikolas is 1-1 with a 2.55 in four career appearances, including two starts, against the Diamondbacks.
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