MIAMI (AP) — Michael Wacha was so excited to make his first start in nearly three weeks that he set the alarm in his hotel room for 4 o'clock.
That's 4 p.m.
The well-rested Wacha pitched six scoreless innings in his return to the St. Louis Cardinals' rotation Monday, and they broke a three-game losing streak by beating Miami 4-1.
Wacha (4-2), who was briefly demoted to the bullpen, benefited from three double plays and a pickoff in his first start since May 22. The former All-Star allowed five hits, struck out four and lowered his ERA to 5.63.
"He kind of re-established himself," manager Mike Shildt said. "He was tremendous. He's a legitimate rotation guy, and when right, he can be a top-of-the-line guy. He has proven that. He proved it tonight."
Wacha and his teammates arrived in Miami shortly before sunrise after losing at Wrigley Field on Sunday night, when the Cubs completed a series sweep.
"I probably didn't go to sleep until about 5," Wacha said. "I woke up at 2, had a little food and went back to sleep until 4. Not the normal schedule, but you've got to make it work sometimes."
Wacha said if he hadn't set an alarm, he would have slept some more.
There was no wakeup call for the Cardinals offense. They totaled only four hits but scored three unearned runs in the sixth, when catcher Jorge Alfaro made a wild throw on a sacrifice bunt.
"I'm mad at myself," Alfaro said. "I just threw it away."
John Gant followed Wacha and allowed one run in two innings. Jordan Hicks worked around a leadoff single in the ninth and struck out two for his 13th save.
Wacha walked two, threw only 75 pitches and earned another start Saturday at the New York Mets. He downplayed his desire to reclaim a spot in the rotation.
"I just pitch whenever they tell me to," he said.
Rockies 6, Cubs 5: Daniel Murphy’s eighth-inning double that set up Ryan McMahon’s tiebreaking single, the difference in the Rockies’ much-needed 6-5 victory over the Cubs.
The Rockies (34-31) had just returned after going 2-4 on the road against the Mets and Cubs, and seemed in need of getting back on the roll that pushed them above .500 during their last homestand.
Murphy was with the Cubs last October when the Rockies beat them, 2-1, in 13 innings in the National League Wild Card Game. This time, with the score tied and one out in the eighth, Murphy pulled a double off the first-base bag to set up McMahon’s two-out hit.
The game had three Cubs homers — David Bote, Kyle Schwarber and Anthony Rizzo — in the third inning off Rockies starter German Marquez, who shut them down for the rest of his six innings.
Nationals 12, White Sox 1: Trea Turner homered in the second straight game, Aníbal Sánchez pitched into the seventh and the Washington Nationals beat the Chicago White Sox 12-1 on Monday night.
Turner tripled and scored in the third, went deep against Odrisamer Despaigne leading off the fifth and added an RBI double in the seventh. He also struck out leading off the game and in the eighth and popped out in the ninth.
Sánchez (2-6) gave up one run and four hits. He left after James McCann singled leading off the seventh.