The right-hander who was the NLCS MVP as a rookie last fall has permitted three or fewer runs in all 11 starts this season, four of them including delays with a total idle time of 4 hours, 52 minutes. Wacha left a tie game after seven innings and only 84 pitches Monday, but the New York Yankees went on to a 6-4 victory in 12 innings.
"It's definitely been one of my goals, to be efficient out there but still make quality pitches," Wacha said. "Not just throwing the ball over the middle of the plate."
Before matching his season high for innings, Wacha had to get through the first. After nine pitches the Yankees had the lead, with a walk by Brett Gardner and a single by Derek Jeter setting up Jacoby Ellsbury's RBI single.
"They definitely came out swinging," Wacha said. "I knew I had to start making a lot better pitches earlier on in the count, and it ended up working out a little bit better for me."
"I haven't seen the replay but it looked like it if it wasn't caught, it was either off the top of the wall or gone," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "That would have been nice."
Pinch-hitter Alfonso Soriano and Brendan Ryan each added an RBI for the Yankees, who took the opener of a three-game interleague series for their third straight win. Alfredo Aceves (1-2) worked two scoreless innings and David Robertson earned his 11th save in 12 chances.
Jon Jay had an RBI double in the 12th for the Cardinals, who lost for the third time in 12 games.
A standing-room crowd of 47,311, the third-largest at 9-year-old Busch Stadium, showed up to see an opponent making only its second appearance in St. Louis since losing to the Cardinals in the 1964 World Series.
The enthusiasm did not appear to be dampened by a 61-minute weather delay, the threat of rain that did not materialize, before the first pitch.
Cardinals pitchers retired 20 of 21 batters before the 12th, when Randy Choate (0-2) faced five batters and four reached safely.
"I felt good going in, but when I got out there I just didn't really have it," Choate said. "Just a really bad day."
Ellsbury got the rally started when he walked to lead off the inning and stole second, a call upheld after Matheny challenged. The Yankees loaded the bases on a hit batter and an intentional walk before Roberts' go-ahead hit.
Molina slammed his helmet in frustration after Gardner came down with his drive at the top of the fence with a runner on and one out in the 11th.
Jeter got a standing ovation before his first at-bat, and thousands stood again when he singled, although they also roared when he took a called third strike to end the eighth against Carlos Martinez after Molina's pinpoint throw on Gardner attempting to steal.
The first three batters reached in a two-run fifth, too, with Kelly Johnson's RBI single and Gardner's sacrifice fly putting the Yankees up 3-1.
New York rookie starter Chase Whitley was vulnerable early. The Cardinals needed two at-bats to tie it in the first when Matt Carpenter tripled off the right-field wall and Kolten Wong doubled, but they missed a chance for more when Wong overslid third and was caught stealing for the first time in eight attempts this season.
Whitley qualified for a win for the first time in three career starts but left with the bases loaded and none out in the sixth before the Cardinals tied it against Preston Claiborne. Allen Craig had an RBI groundout and Jhonny Peralta followed with a sacrifice fly.
Wacha bounced back after taking a foul liner off his elbow while sitting in the dugout his last time out, giving up three runs on four hits in seven innings. He had a season-low two strikeouts, the first against Ellsbury leading off the sixth.
NOTES: In a pregame ceremony, Jeter received Stan Musial cuff links and a $10,000 check for the captain's Turn 2 Foundation. ... The Cardinals also paid tribute to their 1964 team. ... Cardinals RHP Lance Lynn (5-2, 3.60 ERA) opposes David Phelps (1-1, 3.18) on Tuesday night. Lynn is 1-3 with a 5.08 ERA in six career interleague starts.
Link to box score: New York Yankees (27-23) 6 at St. Louis (28-23) 4 (12 innings)
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