ST. LOUIS (AP) — Tyler O’Neill homered, Steven Matz pitched six strong innings and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Colorado Rockies 6-2 Saturday night.
Matz (3-7) allowed one run and five hits while striking out six to improve to 3-0 with a 2.06 ERA in six starts since rejoining the Cardinals’ rotation on July 9.
“This is a really nice stretch for Matz, and it’s awesome to see,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “He continues to pitch with an edge. Obviously, the (velocity is) up which is helpful. That’s a big contributor to his success.”
Matz is also pleased with his recent stretch.
“I think that’s what you want out of a starter,” he said. “That’s what I wanted to do early in the year. So to be able to do that here. The second half of it definitely feels nice.”
Rockies starter Ty Blach (1-1) allowed four runs and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings in his third start of the season.
“That’s the first time I’ve thrown that many pitches in three months,” Blach said. “I definitely was not quite as sharp as I was earlier in the game, and that’s a really good lineup. They took advantage a couple pitches I left over the plate. I think that’s something, as I continue to build back up, we’ll be able to continue to combat.”
Ryan McMahon hit his 100th career home run and 19th of the season to right field off St. Louis reliever Andre Pallante in the eighth inning.
O’Neill lined his fifth home run of the season into the left field bullpen to give St. Louis a 1-0 lead in the second.
The Cardinals loaded the bases with no outs against Blach in the fourth inning but only managed to score one run on Dylan Carlson’s sacrifice fly that right fielder Nolan Jones caught in foul territory.
Brendan Rodgers and Elias Díaz singled and Jones walked with two outs in the top of the fourth before Matz got Elehuris Montero to pop out to Paul Goldschmidt in foul territory to end the threat.
“We had one opportunity to really break through but couldn’t get the big hit,” Rockies manager Bud Black said about facing Matz. “He wiggled out of some jams. The first few innings were pretty efficient. We couldn’t put anything together against him.”
Brenton Doyle scored on Ezequiel Tovar’s sacrifice fly to center field in the fifth inning to snap Matz’s 18-inning scoreless streak dating back to July 20.
Willson Contreras hit a two-run double to right field in the fifth inning and Tommy Edman lined a two-run triple down the right field line in the seventh to push the Cardinals’ lead to 6-1.
“This lineup has the ability to beat you a lot of different ways,” Marmol said. “We’re not just relying on the homer. It was nice getting going that way with T.O. He continues to swing the bat well. We just took really nice at bats all the way through.”
St. Louis won its 10,000th game since the franchise adopted the Cardinals moniker in 1900.
Rockies: RHP Ryan Feltner (skull fracture and concussion) threw off a mound for the first time since being struck by a line drive off the bat of Nick Castellanos on May 13. Feltner was recently cleared to resume baseball activities and Black said he has a chance of returning to game action this season.
Cardinals: RHP Ryan Helsley (right forearm) is scheduled to throw one inning Sunday for double-A Springfield as he begins a rehabilitation assignment. Helsley is eligible to be activated off the 60-day injured list on Wednesday.
LHP Austin Gomber (8-8, 5.68 ERA) will start Sunday’s series finale for Colorado. LHP Zack Thompson (2-3, 4.76 ERA) will be the opener for St. Louis in a bullpen game.