ST. LOUIS (AP) — Miles Mikolas marvels when talking about Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina.
"The guy is a real ballplayer," Mikolas said. "Flat-out does everything. It's no surprise."
The right-hander pitched seven stellar innings and Molina hit one of three home runs that powered St. Louis past the Philadelphia Phillies 6-0 on Monday night.
Matt Carpenter and Paul DeJong also went deep as the Cardinals snapped a four-game skid.
Mikolas (4-2) allowed only three hits in his second-longest outing this year. He struck out a season-high five and did not issue a walk.
"This is pretty indicative, for sure," St. Louis manager Mike Shildt said. "This is Miles and who he is and what we expect. A quality job across the board. He controlled counts. He was just in control."
Mikolas did not lobby to stay in the game.
"I felt like I had a little left in the tank," he said. "You don't want to burn out your tires this early in the season."
Molina thought location was the key for Mikolas.
"His curveball was good," Molina explained. "His fastball, his location. He pitched a really good game. We located the fastball really good and when you do that, everything else is going to work."
John Brebbia and Jordan Hicks finished the five-hitter. It was the second shutout this season for St. Louis.
Molina added two singles for a three-hit game. In his last 16 games at home, he has three homers and 18 RBIs. He has hit safely in 14 of those games, batting .349 during that span.
"Good swings every time out," Molina said. "I just want to put the ball in play hard."
The Cardinals chased starter Vince Velasquez (1-2) in the fifth when he gave up two homers sandwiched around a single. He allowed five runs on four hits and five walks.
In his last seven games (six starts), Velasquez has received just seven runs of support.
"I think Vince had good stuff," Philadelphia manager Gabe Kapler said. "Unfortunately, he wasn't able to put hitters away and I think probably the thing that stands out for me is the walks. That was the biggest difference between the two starting pitchers. I don't think Vince got beat with the home runs; he got beat with the walks."
Molina got the first St. Louis hit when he belted a 2-2 pitch into the left field seats in the fourth inning. He drove in Jose Martinez, who drew his second walk from Velasquez. Molina's third home run of the season extended his hitting streak to 12 games.
St. Louis put together a big inning in the fifth, sending nine batters to the plate. Carpenter led off with a homer and, after Paul Goldschmidt singled, DeJong hit his seventh home run of the season.
Phillies reliever Edgar Garcia, making his big league debut, got an out but then gave up singles to Martinez and Molina. A wild pitch advanced both before Kolten Wong's sacrifice fly accounted for the fourth run of the inning and a 6-0 lead.
HOME SWEET HOME
The Cardinals improved to 13-4 at Busch Stadium, the best home record in the National League and second in the majors. Houston is 10-3 at home.
Philadelphia is 3-12 in its last 15 games in St. Louis. Since the start of the 2010 season, the Phillies are 12-24 at Busch Stadium.
TAKING A PASS
Carpenter became the fastest Cardinals player to reach 600 career walks.
Philadelphia recalled Garcia from Triple-A Lehigh Valley and optioned RHP Enyel De Los Santos to its top farm club. "Got a fairly heavy right-handed-hitting lineup for the Cardinals and I think it'd be valuable to have him for the series," Kapler said about Garcia.
Dabo Swinney, coach of Clemson's national champion football team, visited Shildt at Busch Stadium. The two met during spring training when Shildt invited Swinney to speak to the ballclub.
Phillies: INF Scott Kingery (right hamstring) took grounders before the game at shortstop. "Ground balls were not full speed, just a little to his left and right," Kapler said. "Some tag plays at second, but a good step in the right direction."
Cardinals: RHP Carlos Martinez (shoulder) pitched Sunday in the fifth inning for Class A Peoria and retired three batters on six pitches, getting three groundouts. "I'll take three outs on six pitches every day, regardless," Shildt said. "It was great for Carlos. We're happy for him. He's back here. He'll play catch and then he'll go to (Triple-A) Memphis and get an opportunity in the next couple days to throw again and we'll just continue to evaluate where we are with him."
Phillies: RHP Aaron Nola (2-0, 5.06 ERA) gave up one run and seven hits over 5 2/3 innings in his last start against Detroit but did not figure in the decision. He is 2-2 with a 2.84 ERA in four career starts against St. Louis.
Cardinals: RHP Dakota Hudson (2-2, 4.80) will be making his first regular-season appearance against the Phillies. He had a career-high seven strikeouts and went six innings for the first time in his last start, a 2-1 loss at Washington.