Peralta, Wainwright lead Cardinals over Pirates

St. Louis, MO ( - Looking for something beyond command and velocity and other inside-baseball reasons why Adam Wainwright is pitching so well?

Let the man himself give you another one.

"I'm having more fun pitching now than I ever have," Wainwright said.

It hasn't been much fun for opposing hitters.

Wainwright stretched his shutout streak to 25 innings and Jhonny Peralta hit two homers, leading the St. Louis Cardinals to a 7-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday to complete a three-game series.

Wainwright (5-1) had seven strikeouts in eight innings, giving up just three hits and two walks and becoming the first five-game winner in the majors this season.

The right-hander has won four starts in a row since suffering his only loss of the season April 6 against Pittsburgh. He threw 67 of his 99 pitches for strikes on Sunday and his earned-run average dipped from 1.46 to 1.20 in 45 innings this season.

It wasn't even his best start of the season. Before blanking the Mets in seven innings last Tuesday, Wainwright threw a two-hit shutout against the Nationals on April 17 -- and only one of the hits left the infield.

"He was the same guy we've seen all season, an absolute joy to watch," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of the two-time Cy Young Award runner-up. "And we actually got big hits today and gave him a little room to breathe."

Peralta snapped St. Louis' 10-game homerless streak with a solo shot in the fifth inning, then added a three-run blast in the sixth to give the Cardinals a 6-0 lead and chase Pittsburgh starter Edinson Volquez (1-2) from the game.

Volquez praised Wainwright after the game.

"He's unbelievable. He's a superstar," Volquez said.

St. Louis won two of three in the series, also taking the first game in a 1-0 shutout.

The Pirates fell to 2-8 in their last 10.

Peralta's second homer came during a four-run sixth that almost never was. The Pirates lost a replay challenge after a would-be 5-4-3 double play was waived off when Yadier Molina was ruled safe at first base.

First base umpire Ted Barrett ruled that Ike Davis' foot came off the base on a wide throw by second baseman Neil Walker, and the call stood after a lengthy review.

Allen Craig followed with an RBI single and Peralta cracked a 3-2 changeup into the visitors bullpen behind left field for his sixth homer of the season.

Volquez gave up six runs on seven hits and a walk in his 5 2/3 innings.

Matt Holliday and Molina both had sacrifice flies in the game and Carlos Martinez struck out three in a perfect ninth inning to keep the shutout intact.

The Pirates had three singles. They put a runner on third base in the sixth after Wainwright hit Jose Tabata with one out and Pedro Alvarez singled with two down.

Game Notes

Wainwright is 10-5 in 20 career starts against the Pirates ... The Cardinals will finish a six-game homestand with three against Milwaukee starting Monday ... The Pirates will play two games in Baltimore starting Tuesday to complete a five-game road trip.