CHICAGO (AP) Miles Mikolas has been working on his breaking stuff, and it paid off in his final start before the All-Star break.
Mikolas allowed four hits - all singles - in his first win since May 30. The 34-year-old right-hander struck out six and walked none, throwing 71 of his 95 pitches for strikes.
“He just attacked the zone against these guys,” St. Louis manager Oliver Marmol said. “Did a really nice job. Got a lot of early contact, so phenomenal day.”
Mikolas (5-5), a two-time All-Star, was 0-4 with a 6.00 ERA in his previous six starts. But his work on his breaking balls - along with a conversation with teammate Adam Wainwright - helped him get back on track.
“I think I got my grips, and I got my delivery to a point where I felt like I could really, you know, kind of grab those seams and just let it rip,” Mikolas said. “And let the grip do the work and not try to have to manipulate the ball too much.”
Giovanny Gallegos worked around Oscar Colás' leadoff single in the eighth, and Jordan Hicks finished the seven-hitter for his seventh save.
Chicago dropped to 10-18 in its past 28 games.
Walker hit a solo drive in the ninth for his eighth homer for last-place St. Louis. Paul DeJong singled in Nolan Gorman in the second, and Brendan Donovan added a run-scoring groundout in the fifth.
White Sox right-hander Touki Toussaint (0-2) allowed five hits - all singles - in five innings. He struck out five and walked one in his second start since he was claimed off waivers from Cleveland last month.
“I was able to attack the strike zone, keep the walks down, make some pitches when I had to,” Toussaint said.
The White Sox had their best scoring opportunity against Mikolas in the fourth, putting runners on first and second on one-out singles by Luis Robert Jr. and Eloy Jiménez. Andrew Vaughn then flied out to the warning track in left, and Jake Burger bounced into a fielder's choice.
“Vaughny just missed that pitch, just got in on him a little bit,” Chicago manager Pedro Grifol said. “It’s a game of not even inches. He just missed that.”
DeJong's run-scoring single in the second stopped an 0-for-13 slide for the veteran infielder. He is batting .172 (5 for 29) in nine July games.
Cardinals: Marmol said LHP Jordan Montgomery (right hamstring) will be checked out by a doctor on Sunday night, and the team should have a better idea on a timeline after that examination. Montgomery got hurt when he slipped on the mound during Friday night's 8-7 loss in the series opener. ... C Willson Contreras (dental procedure) rested for the second straight game. “Taking a hit to the mask or anything like that probably wouldn't be ideal, so giving him one more day,” Marmol said. ... OF Tyler O'Neill (lower left back strain) went 1 for 2 with a walk in his third rehab appearance with Triple-A Memphis on Friday night. O’Neill was expected to DH for the Redbirds on Saturday night.
White Sox: RHPs Michael Kopech (shoulder inflammation), Liam Hendriks (elbow inflammation) and Mike Clevinger (right biceps inflammation) each threw a bullpen session. Kopech is expected to return right after the All-Star break. “Michael's a little bit ahead of the other two,” Grifol said. “Liam and Clev, we'll see how they feel tomorrow. We'll take the next step, increase the intensity a little bit, see how they feel after that.”
Cardinals left-hander Steven Matz (0-7, 5.02 ERA) and White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito (6-5, 3.50 ERA) pitch on Sunday in the final game before the All-Star break. Matz is making his first start since May 24. Giolito tossed six innings of two-run ball in a no-decision against Toronto on Tuesday.
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