By R.B. Fallstrom
The Associated Press
ST. LOUIS — Adam Wainwright carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning and was one out from the St. Louis Cardinals’ second straight one-hitter over the suddenly punchless Colorado Rockies in a 3-0 victory Saturday.
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 rookie Shelby Miller then failed to put a runner on until Todd Helton walked with one out in the fifth inning a day later.
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.
Wainwright doffed his cap in appreciation during a prolonged standing ovation from a sellout crowd of 43,050, then quickly retired the next two hitters.
Wainwright (5-2) gave up a two-out single to Dexter Fowler and matched his career best with a two-hitter.
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.
Allen 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.
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.