ST. LOUIS (AP) — Lance Lynn lobbied for nine more pitches. One base runner, St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny told the right-hander, and we go to the bullpen.
Lynn needed exactly nine pitches to finish a five-hit shutout in his first career complete game, a 6-0 victory over the New York Yankees on Tuesday night.
“It was definitely one to remember,” Lynn said. “To do it against the Yankees is exciting, especially if it’s your first one as a professional.”
Lynn made 72 starts over three-plus seasons in the minors without going the distance, blaming ultra-vigilant pitch counters that never allowed anyone not named Maddux or Wainwright to throw more than 100 a game.
He is the seventh pitcher in franchise history to win 40 games before making a 100th career appearance, and topped his previous best of eight innings while baffling Yankees hitters with a sinker combined with a breaking pitch that Matheny thought was the best he’s seen this season.
‘It’s very hard to see pitchers we’ve never seen before,” Yankees outfielder Alfonso Soriano said after going 0 for 4. “I know him, I played in the National League against him, but you have to give a lot of credit to him.
“The guy had command and that’s why he threw nine innings.”
Lynn struck out all four at-bats but the Cardinals had plenty of offense with homers by Allen Craig and Matt Holliday. Holliday and Matt Adams had three hits and an RBI apiece and Craig drove in two runs.
Holliday’s third homer of the season ended a 24-game drought. He had 22 homers last year.
“You play this game long enough, you’re going to have a period of time where things, you don’t get what you want,” Holliday said. “I don’t want to look back on the past, it’s all about what I’m doing now and the rest of the season.”
The Cardinals have won 10 of 13, shaking off a 12-inning loss in the series’ opener, and ended the Yankees’ three-game road winning streak that matched their best of the year.
Manager Joe Girardi said fatigue was not a factor.
“This is baseball. I mean, this is what we train to do,” Girardi said. “It’s just part of the game. You have ups and downs.”
David Phelps (1-2) pitched in his hometown for the first time and allowed three earned runs in six innings. Two infield errors contributed to two unearned runs in the Cardinals’ breakout four-run third.
Derek Jeter of the Yankees got a standing ovation before each at-bat, just like in the opener. He was 0 for 3 with a walk.
Adams leads the National League with 22 multi-hit games, Holliday has reached safely in all 23 home games and Craig has a team-high 15 RBIs this month.
Lynn (6-2) struck out two and walked three, topping his previous best of eight innings on April 25, 2012, at Chicago against the Cubs. He retired the side in order three times and finished with 126 pitches and still feeling strong.
“Every time you go out, that’s what you try to do, not give up any runs and finish it,” Lynn said. “Today was the first time I was able to do that, so it took me way too long.”
The Yankees were shut out for just the second time, going 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position and stranding two runners twice. Lynn was the first pitcher to go the distance and shut them out since Tampa Bay’s Chris Archer on July 27, 2013.
The Cardinals batted around in the third with Adams’ double the lone run-producing hit. Craig reached on a bases-loaded RBI groundout when first baseman Kelly Johnson gloved an offline throw from Jeter but then lost the ball attempting a sweeping tag, and two runs scored on Jhonny Peralta’s grounder that scooted under second baseman Brian Roberts’ glove.
Craig’s fifth homer ticked off right fielder Alfonso Soriano’s glove at the wall in the fifth. Holliday greeted reliever Alfredo Aceves with his third of the season leading off the seventh.
The Yankees opened with a big play on defense, with center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury’s running grab steps from the wall to rob leadoff man Matt Carpenter of extra bases in the first.
Adams stretched to full extension keeping his foot on the bag at first on Roberts’ groundout to end the second. Rookie second baseman Kolten Wong made three nice plays, outrunning Ellsbury to first after fielding a grounder that Adams also chased, turning a smash by Yangervis Solarte into a double play ball in the fourth, and diving to snare Phelps’ foul pop-up in the fifth.
- Cardinals Hall of Fame manager Whitey Herzog, recovering from a hip injury, was among those in a sellout crowd of 45,202, the team’s 12th of the season.
- Hiroki Kuroda (3-3,4.55) faces Shelby Miller (6-3, 3.18) in the series finale Wednesday. Kuroda is 0-7 in his last 11 road starts since winning at Texas last July 25, the longest drought of his career. Miller is 2-2 with a 5.79 ERA in five career interleague starts.