ST. LOUIS (AP) – Except for an early base-running mistake, the Colorado Rockies had a lot of positives.
Bottom line, they just couldn’t break through against Adam Wainwright and the St. Louis Cardinals’ bullpen.
“We had a couple of opportunities especially early, but we never really got settled in against Wainwright,” manager Walt Weiss said after a 2-0 loss Wednesday night ended a five-game winning streak. “It looked like he changed speeds, used the breaking ball well.”
Charlie Blackmon tripled to lead off the game but then cost the Rockies a scoring opportunity when he tried to score on Trevor Story’s routine grounder to third and was an easy out at the plate.
“We don’t run on contact with nobody out and a runner on third. I think it was probably just instinct,” Weiss said.
The Rockies kept it close with several nice defensive plays, and got a strong start from Chris Rusin.
Third baseman Nolen Arenado made a diving stop to start a double play in the first, denying Yadier Molina’s bid for an RBI hit.
“If that ball gets through, it’s two runs,” Rusin said. “And that puts us down right out of the gate and you don’t want that. You don’t want to be fighting from the beginning of the game from behind.”
Blackmon made a running catch in right-center on a liner by Molina to end the third and first baseman Mark Reynolds foiled a squeeze bunt attempt by Wainwright in the fourth, shoveling to the plate for an easy out.
Rusin (1-2) allowed two runs in six innings for the Rockies, who averaged five runs a game during the winning streak, which was their longest since a six-game run Sept. 16-21, 2014.
Rusin was much improved from his last two outings, in which he allowed 10 runs in 11 innings. The lefty regretted only the pitch in the third that Matt Holliday lined to left for a two-run double.
“I don’t know if I had a base open, but it wasn’t bases loaded so I don’t want to give any easy pitches,” Rusin said. “I just left that one up, and maybe if it’s a little lower he hits it to somebody. He just won that battle.”
Wainwright (4-3) worked a season-high 6 2-3 innings, one-third of an inning longer than his previous best, and lowered his ERA 88 points to a still-unsightly 5.92. He’s 8-1 with a 1.31 ERA for his career against Colorado.
“I know he hasn’t been vintage Wainwright so far early this year, but he knows what he’s doing out there,” Weiss said. “There’s a lot of wisdom and a lot of feel of the pitch and he still has a good arm and good stuff and we saw that tonight.”
Stephen Piscotty had three hits and scored a run for the Cardinals, who had lost three of four.
Holliday is batting .385 with 11 homers and 37 RBIs in 40 games against the Rockies, for whom he played from 2004-08. He had been in an 0-for-15 slump before the hit.
Kevin Siegrist struck out Blackmon looking with two on to end the seventh and Trevor Rosenthal earned his eighth save in nine chances.
Shortstop Aledmys Diaz booted a double-play grounder for his 10th error in the first but the Rockies stranded two when Reynolds lined out.
Wainwright has walked one or fewer in seven consecutive starts. His only free pass Wednesday was to D.J. LeMahieu with one out in the seventh.
Rockies: Suspended SS Jose Reyes will head to extended spring training in Scottsdale, Arizona, on Thursday. He’s eligible to return June 1.
Cardinals: SS Jhonny Peralta (left thumb) homered taking batting practice for the first time since being injured early in spring training and is expected to begin a rehab assignment soon.
Rockies: Jon Gray (1-1, 4.71) earned his first career victory his last time out, striking out eight in seven innings against the Mets.
Cardinals: Michael Wacha (2-4, 3.23) has lost four consecutive starts for the first time in his career.
– By R.B. FALLSTROM, AP Sports Writer
(© Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)