One of the Cardinals' projected strengths in spring training was their rotation and, after eight games, that clearly has been the best thing about their 6-2 start.
Monday's 2-1 win over Arizona was the fifth straight for the Cardinals, and each of the five starters gained a victory in that streak. In those five games, Cardinals starters have allowed only three earned runs in 34 2/3 innings, with right-hander Todd Wellemeyer
permitting just one in seven innings Monday.
Wellemeyer, the last Cardinals pitcher to lose, had been tagged for 12 hits and five runs in his first start, whereupon he and pitching coach Dave Duncan decided an alteration in his delivery was in order. Instead of bringing his hands over his head in a conventional windup, leading to potentially more moving parts, Wellemeyer started his motion with his hands just above his belt.
The results were no walks and seven hits allowed. "I felt a lot better. I kept my shoulders square to the plate," said Wellemeyer, who had been 0-3 with a 6.39 career earned-run average against Arizona.
Wellemeyer rarely, if ever, shook off veteran catcher Jason LaRue, who made his first start of the season. LaRue had two hits and also threw out a runner stealing.
CARDINALS 2, ARIZONA 1: Former Arizona INF Brian Barden broke a 1-1 tie with his first big-league home run, an opposite-field drive off LHP Doug Davis in the eighth inning. 1B Albert Pujols earlier hit his fourth homer, waiting on a Davis changeup. Three relievers worked the final two innings in scoreless fashion, and RHP Ryan Franklin became the third different reliever to record a save.