ST. LOUIS -- From the first pitch, Adam Wainwright thought this could be the day he threw a no-hitter. He came really close.
Wainwright allowed one hit, facing one batter over the minimum and very few hard-hit balls, and the St. Louis Cardinals ended an eight-game home run drought with long balls from Matt Adams and Jhonny Peralta in a 5-0 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night.
"I've had some times in my career where I felt like I had the stuff to do it," Wainwright said. "And today I had the stuff to do it," Wainwright said.
Working on six days rest because of a rainout and day off, Wainwright (7-2) retired the first 11 batters before Paul Goldschmidt doubled off the wall in centre with two outs in the fourth. He matched his season best with nine strikeouts, fanning A.J. Pollock twice.
"Goldschmidt, he's a very good hitter. I don't ever second-guess a pitch to Goldy out there," Wainwright said. "I threw a curveball middle of the plate 2-2 and he hit it off the wall.
"Just take what you get."
Peralta hit his team-leading ninth of the season in the sixth and added one of the Cardinals' five doubles for a second RBI against Bronson Arroyo (4-3). Arroyo had been 3-0 with an 0.39 ERA in May and hadn't allowed a homer his last four starts. Arroyo gave up five runs in seven innings, all of the runs coming with two outs.
"With two outs, they were tough. They just got it done," Arroyo said. "You just can't do that with Wainwright, he's so tough."
Adams' two-run shot in the first was the Cardinals' first since May 9 when Peralta and Craig homered at Pittsburgh. It was their first in nine home games since Adams and Craig connected against the Brewers on April 30.
The Cardinals entered with 23 homers, fewest in the National League and second fewest in the majors.
"We didn't stress the first couple of months of the season the way our offence was," Adams said. "We know this is the offence we're capable of every night."
The one-hitter was a career best for Wainwright, who has thrown four two-hitters. He threw his second shutout of the season and the eighth of his career on a day Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said struggling closer Trevor Rosenthal would not be available. Rosenthal has two blown saves his last five appearances, the last coming when he pitched for the fourth straight game and took the loss against the Braves on Sunday.
Former closer Jason Motte, activated from the 15-day disabled list before the game, warmed up in the ninth. Matheny said Motte would have made his season debut if Wainwright, who totalled 115 pitches with no walks, struggled.
Wainwright said he lobbied Matheny for 12 pitches in the ninth and needed just nine to finish it.
"We've taken a couple from him when he was right there," Matheny said. "You don't often get those opportunities with a one-hit shutout, and he hadn't worked that hard."
The Diamondbacks arrived minus new chief baseball officer Tony La Russa, who managed the Cardinals for 16 seasons and retired in 2011 after leading them to a second World Series title. Manager Kirk Gibson said before the game he didn't think it would have been a distraction.
"Having him around, we look at as a positive," Gibson said. "I would say he's probably a little better at making decisions than I am."
Pollock made an outstanding running catch in centre field a few steps from the wall to rob Molina of extra bases in the sixth.
The Diamondbacks' first three hitters had been 15 for 28 with four homers and 11 RBIs the previous three games.
They fell victim to the Cardinals' fifth straight starter to work at least seven innings.
"He was good, but every pitcher for these guys is good," Goldschmidt said. "So there is never a night off," Goldschmidt said.
NOTES: Rookie Michael Wacha (3-3, 2.82) faces Brandon McCarthy (1-6, 5.01) in the second game of a three-game set on Wednesday night. ... Plate umpire Brian O'Nora left after three innings due to illness and the game was delayed several minutes while Marvin Hudson, who had been at second base, put on equipment to replace him. ... Diamondbacks 2B Aaron Hill (shoulder) missed his third straight start but is expected to return Wednesday. Gibson said an MRI exam last week showed no problems. ... Attendance of 42,252 was the Cardinals' 10th of the season. .. Wainwright has 106 victories with St. Louis, tied with eighth on the career list with Slim Salee. ... Wainwright is 5-1 in six career starts at home against Arizona.