In the hours leading up to and through a doubleheader, the worry for any manager, including Cardinals skipper Mike Matheny, is how to have enough pitching in the bullpen to keep from frying or fraying relievers for days to come.
Plan in place, Matheny never had to face that question.

His starters had all the answers.

Ace Adam Wainwright and rookie Shelby Miller combined to allow one run in their 16 innings as the Cardinals swept the San Francisco Giants in a doubleheader on Saturday at Busch Stadium. Miller tossed seven scoreless innings to set the tone with an 8-0 victory in Game 1, and Wainwright followed with a complete game in the Cardinals’ 7-1 win in Game 2 against the defending World Series champions.

“He set the bar,” Wainwright said. “It was nice to follow him. He threw a shutout. But I went nine. I don’t know who wins that one.”

The two starters’ 16 innings left only two for the bullpen to handle and meant that relievers Trevor Rosenthal and Edward Mujica, taxed to the point of being unavailable for Thursday’s rain-soaked boondoggle against the Royals, reach the series finale Sunday after three days off. A day built to expose bullpens instead rarely gave Matheny an opportunity to utilize his. After each game, Matheny complimented the different look his starters gave in the game. Matheny said Miller pitched with a “new style” and the rookie said he tested a sinker that he started working on last week during a bullpen. Wainwright accessed his changeup and that aided his curveball, which he flipped for several of his 10 strikeouts. The two righties held the Giants to one run on 15 hits in the doubleheader because, Matheny said, of their deft use of their secondary options.

The same could be said of the manager.

Matheny sprinkled bench players into the two lineups he had to write for the doubleheader. Every position player on the roster got at least one start Saturday, and only Matt Holliday didn’t play at least one complete, nine-inning game. Three players started both games, but bench players like Ty Wigginton and Tony Cruz each started. Combined, Wigginton and Cruz had eight starts this season before Saturday, and yet each half of the doubleheader turned on their offensive contributions. Cruz’s two-run double spurred the Cardinals’ seven-run inning against Giants ace Matt Cain in Game 1. Wigginton’s two run-single in the seventh and two runs scored helped down Madison Bumgarner and the Giants in Game 2.

“Every single day I show up here and I’m still learning the role,” said Wigginton, who had two hits to raise his average from .167 to .205. “As the year goes on I think I’ll get better and better at it.”

Matheny acknowledged after the game that he gambled a bit by having Miller throw the first game. The rookie had not been efficient in recent outings, throwing at least 95 pitches in his past three starts and failing to complete the sixth inning. The risk was having Miller surrender to his pitch count early in Game 1 and speeding through the bullpen before Wainwright took the mound for Game 2. Following Cruz’s lead to a stronger mix of pitches than in any previous game this season, Miller (6-3) struck out seven, scattered six hits, and needed 106 pitches to complete seven innings.