Lance Lynn threw eight shutout innings before Trevor Rosenthal pitched a scoreless ninth and sealed the Cardinals 1-0 victory in the opening game of a weekend series against the Washington Nationals.
Lynn was masterful, needing 111 pitches to face just two over the minimum. He retired the first 16 Nationals and allowed two singles while striking out eight to earn his seventh win of the season.
"Just a really well pitched game," manager Mike Matheny said. "Obviously that's an understatement."
Matt Adams, back after a 16-day stint on the disabled list, launched a home run in the second inning off Jordan Zimmerman into the seats in right center field.
The Cardinals mustered just three hits; Adam's was the difference.
"That's the game," Matheny said. "He has ridiculous power. The ability to get the ball high in the air."
The Cardinals did not have an at bat with runners in scoring position. Yet they were in complete control until the penultimate batter, when Denard Span reached on a Kolten Wong error with two outs in the ninth.
Rosenthal recovered to strike out Anthony Rendon with a changeup. Rosenthal struck out the side to put a bow on a neat, two-hour and three minute masterpiece.
"Rosey is pitching with a lot of confidence," Matheny said.
Lynn threw 73 strikes and didn't walk a batter. He induced 10 fly ball outs and five ground outs.
"When things are going well, as they were today, you can't ask for anything better," Matheny said. "It looked like he was focused on making good pitches and he didn't look distracted. Mostly because he had a lot of pitches working for him."
His counterpart, Jordan Zimmerman, was maybe more impressive in the losing effort. Zimmerman threw a 76-pitch complete game, with 57 of those going for strikes.
One hurt him.
"He threw the ball extremely well," "He's going to be greedy. He isn't going to give us much."
Adams' home run came on a 1-0 pitch. Adams, whose dad is in town for Father's Day weekend, singled again his next time up. Allen Craig led off the second with a single before being erased on a double play. That was all the Cardinals could muster offensively.
It was enough.
The Cardinals have now won three 1-0 games this season - and two in a week - in which the lone run came courtesy of a solo home run.
Fourteen of the Cardinals' 35 wins this season have been shutouts.
Shelby Miller and Stephen Strasburg face off tomorrow at 6:15pm.
Lynn allows hit, still leads 1-0
Seventeen batters into the game, Lance Lynn allowed his first hit. Catcher and No.8 hitter Jose Lobaton, he of ALDS walkoff fame with Tampa an October ago, inside-outed a two-strike fastball down the third base line.
Lobaton's dribbler skipped easily past Matt Carpenter, who was shaded well to his left, and headed towards the left field corner.
A single for Lobaton. He advanced to second when Matt Holliday bobbled the grounder in left.
So Lynn has been proven human tonight. But he responded by quickly inducing two fly outs in an attempt to hide that fact.
He's twirling a 1-0 shutout through six innings.
Lynn's counterpart, Jordan Zimmerman, has been marvelous as well. The righty has allowed just three hits over five-plus innings. Matt Adams' solo home run in the second inning is the difference.
Lynn perfect through 5
Does it count as a jinx if you blog about it?
What if you type with your mouth closed?
We'll find out if these words or any of the Washington Nationals - who, equipped with superhuman eyesight and elite hitting tools, would seem like the more likely candidates - can derail Lance Lynn. So far he hasn't had so much as a hiccup.
The righty has needed 74 pitches to retire the first 15 Nationals in order. Lynn has struck out four, gotten seven fly balls and four grounders.
None have gone for hits. He hasn't walked any.
Jayson Werth smacked a one-hopper into the hole at short, but Jhonny Peralta stabbed it on his way to the ground and threw out Werth.
The Cardinals lead 1-0 in the top of the sixth on a Matt Adams' solo homer.
Adams announces return with solo home run
While most of the pre-game attention revolved around who wasn't with the Cardinals anymore and why on earth not, the man who came back prepared quietly, for the most part out of sight, for his first big league game in 16 days.
Quietly, until he stepped in the box.
With his dad in town for Father's Day weekend and looking on, Matt Adams let his bat announce his return. He swatted a 1-0 pitch from Jordan Zimmerman - the second he saw since straining his left calf on May 28 - into the seats in right center field for a 419-foot home run.
Adams' fourth blast of the season gave the Cardinals a 1-0 lead in the second inning against Nationals righty Jordan Zimmerman.
Lance Lynn has retired the first six Washington hitters in order.
Healthy Adams returns to lineup
Matt Adams told Cardinals GM John Mozeliak that he felt completely healthy on Tuesday. After a couple more games in Memphis to make sure he was, the first baseman is back in the Cardinals lineup for tonight's game against the Washington Nationals.
Adams is batting sixth and playing first base as the Cardinals face the surging Washington Nationals and ace Jordan Zimmermann.
His return pushes Allen Craig back to right field, where for the past two weeks Oscar Taveras turned from top prospect to lineup regular. Taveras is back to being the system's top prospect after Mozeliak optioned him to Class AAA Memphis to make room for Adams.
"We feel like (Taveras) did a nice job here, but we all know there's another level to his game," manager Mike Matheny said. "With Matt Adams coming back, the playing time is going to be a bit different than it was for the two weeks he was here."
Taveras homered in his first career game, but didn't make the Cardinals' decision very hard from there on out. He hit just .189 in 37 at bats. The decision to drop either Taveras or Randal Grichuk (.136 batting average) for the not only established, but raking, Adams, wasn't a matter of "if" but "who?"
Adams was hitting .325 when he strained his calf on May 28. He hasn't reproduced the power he showed in 2013, but that average would come in at fourth in the National League had Adams not lost the at-bats to make him eligible.
He's healthy now and Mozeliak expects him to keep producing.
"He's feeling fine," Mozeliak said. "You think back to how he was playing before he was injured and he was having a lot of success up until that point."
The choice between Taveras and Grichuk wasn't as simple, but ultimately came down to a two key factors. The Cardinals value Grichuk's versatility defensively in the outfield and believe Taveras needs to play every day in order to develop.
For the time being, there are content with using Grichuk as a role player in the big leagues. For Taveras, they want all of him or none of him. The fear is that sitting the young outfielder would delay his progression.
Wainwright still day-to-day
There is a chance Adam Wainwright could miss his next scheduled start on Monday, but the tendinitis in the back of his elbow is so small and his ligament is so strong, he says, that he doesn't see himself missing much more.
"I could pitch through this, without seeing a doctor and without getting a shot, there is no doubt," Wainwright said. "But what I was thinking in my brain is that isn't the smart play. Lets get this treated."
"Then we won't have to worry about it my next time out."
It is still unclear when that exactly will be, with the Cardinals opting not to make the decision until Wainwright plays catch on Saturday. No pain and he still could start Monday. Anything feels off and he will be pushed back.
"Do I need to make a start in early to mid June if I have a little something barking? If, in fact, if I wait a couple of days it could go away?" Wainwright asked rhetorically. There is a difference between being smart and being silly."
Wainwright first felt discomfort in his elbow during his June 4th start at Kansas City. It flared up slightly again Tuesday against Tampa Bay. An MRI confirmed there is no structural damage.
Wainwright allowed two runs in 15 combined innings over those two starts. He's 9-3 with a 2.15 ERA in 14 starts, and second in the National League with 100.1 innings pitched.
Crash My Party
Tony LaRussa's number ten was taken briefly out of retirement Friday and thrown on the back of a custom jersey made for country superstar Luke Bryan. The CMT award winner donned the number while he took batting practice on the field hours before Friday's first pitch. He didn't mean any disrespect. The Cardinals asked Bryan what his favorite number was and he said ten. It had been since childhood.
"I was hoping he'd say 50," Wainwright said with a chuckle after Bryan posed with the Cardinals pitching staff for a group photo. "He has a decent swing, I'll give him that. We've had some performers out here before. I wont' name names....because Nelly and some of the other guys get mad at me."
R. Zimmerman lf
J. Zimmermann p