Tuesday night, he did both, and his bat helped make up for the
Pittsburgh Pirates' long-ball production as the St. Louis Cardinals
expanded their National League Central lead with a 6-4 win at Busch
Wainwright (16-9) worked into the seventh inning, leaving after a
two-run homer by left fielder Starling Marte cut the Cardinals' lead
to 5-4. He also allowed solo blasts to catcher Russell Martin in the
second and shortstop Jordy Mercer in the third.
However, Wainwright won for just the third time in seven decisions,
giving up seven hits and all four runs with a walk and three
strikeouts. One big reason was the work he did with his bat.
After grounding out to Mercer to bring home St. Louis' first run in
the second, Wainwright knocked out Jeff Locke (6-4) with a two-run
single in the fourth, capping a three-run rally that snapped a 2-2
"There are two or three games a year that can swing your way if you
can help yourself," Wainwright said. "The first run, I hit the ball
just fat enough and got it to the shortstop. The hit, Locke made a
real good pitch but I just stayed through the ball."
Wainwright entered the night hitting .196 with three RBIs in 56
at-bats. By doubling his season total, he also allowed the Cardinals
(75-63) to double their division lead.
Second place Milwaukee lost its seventh straight game, a 7-1
decision at the Chicago Cubs, and now trails St. Louis by two. The
Cardinals' fourth straight win dropped the Pirates (71-67) four
games off the pace.
However, Mercer quickly shot down the notion that Wednesday's series
finale is a must-win game for Pittsburgh.
"Every game is big," he said. "We still have a lot of time to go. We
all know that anything can happen."
St. Louis has scored 33 runs in its recent winning streak, although
it didn't exactly knock down the walls in this one. Outhit 8-7, the
Cardinals made up for it by using Locke's wildness to their
The left-hander shackled St. Louis Wednesday, earning a 3-1 win in a
game that saw him cruise through 7 1/3 innings. But he simply
couldn't find the strike zone with any consistency in the rematch,
throwing just 46 of 86 pitches for strikes and walking five.
Locke gave up four hits and was charged with five runs, four earned.
He struck out three as his four-game winning streak ended.
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"He was pounding the inner half last week," said Cardinals center fielder
Peter Bourjos, whose RBI single in the fourth put his team ahead for
good. "I don't think he had his best command tonight. He was behind in a
lot of counts."
More wildness gave St. Louis an insurance run in the seventh. A wild
pitch by reliever John Axford scored shortstop Jhonny Peralta, who led
off with a double and moved to third on a groundout.
The Cardinals bullpen closed things down with three scoreless innings,
Pat Neshek throwing a clean ninth for his fifth save.
Manager Mike Matheny was cheered by parts of Wainwright's performance,
saying the team's veteran ace is close to regaining the form that made
him the NL's All-Star Game starter.
"There were signs of a better breaking ball," Matheny said. "He looked
like he was more on time with his delivery. For us to able to come out
there and win without him at his best, it's a good night."
NOTES: St. Louis announced that RHP Michael Wacha (stress reaction in
shoulder) will be recalled from his rehab assignment and start Thursday
night's series opener in Milwaukee. Wacha, who pitched two innings
Sunday night for Double-A Springfield, will be on a pitch limit of 50 to
60. ... Pittsburgh called up six players from Triple-A Indianapolis,
including its Tuesday night starter, LHP Jeff Locke, and OF Gregory
Polanco. Also coming up to the Pirates are RHPs Casey Sadler and John
Holdzkom, LHP Bobby LaFromboise and INF/OF Chase d'Arnaud. ... The
Cardinals called up LHPs Marco Gonzales, Tyler Lyons and Nick Greenwood
from Springfield, as well as C Tony Cruz. They activated RHP Jason Motte
(lower back) from the 15-day DL.
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