Red-hot Wainwright leads Cards into Wrigley
(SportsNetwork.com) - St. Louis Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright started his current unbeaten run against the Chicago Cubs in mid-April and faces them again Friday in the opener of a three-game series at Wrigley Field.
Wainwright has won four straight starts and was backed by an offensive performance in a 10-4 win over the Cubs at Busch Stadium. Wainwright allowed a season-high four runs and seven hits in seven innings, pushing his record to 9-6 in 32 career meetings (23 starts) with Chicago.
The right-hander has a good chance at improving his career mark against the Cubs as evidenced by a 6-0 mark and a 3.72 earned run average in 16 games, 11 of which have been starts, at Wrigley Field.
Wainwright, who hasn't allowed a run in his last 25 innings pitched, threw eight scoreless innings of three-hit ball in Sunday's 7-0 win against Pittsburgh. He struck out seven batters and has reached that mark five times already this season. Wainwright is 5-1 in six starts to go along with a sparkling 1.20 ERA for the Cardinals, who have posted three straight shutouts and four total this season when Wainwright takes the mound.
St. Louis will start a nine-game, 10-day road trip with Wainwright on the hill and also has stops in Atlanta and Pittsburgh. The club went 3-3 on a recent homestand and salvaged the finale of a three-game series versus Milwaukee with Wednesday's 9-3 victory behind a decent start from Shelby Miller. Miller allowed three runs in six innings for the win, while relievers Randy Choate and Eric Fornataro combined for three shutout frames.
Allen Craig had a big night with four hits, including a home run, and three RBI. Matt Adams belted a three-run homer and Jon Jay went 3-for-4 in the win. The Cardinals prevailed after losing back-to-back games in extra innings.
"It was good to see all aspects of our game click today," Adams said. "When we click with everything, we're a good team. The first two games of this series were extra innings, and we kept battling. We just ran into a hot team, and everything is clicking for them right now. If we continue playing like we have the last couple of days, I think we'll be fine."
The Cubs will play their next five games at Wrigley Field and split a rain- shortened set with the Cincinnati Reds. They won for the second time in three games following a four-game slide with Wednesday's 9-4 win, as Nate Schierholtz highlighted a four-run ninth inning with a two-run single.
Schierholtz later scored on a fielding error by Joey Votto and Emilio Bonifacio's RBI double plated Welington Castillo, who singled earlier in the inning and had three hits. Anthony Rizzo hit a two-run homer in the first inning, Schierholtz finished with three RBI and Starlin Castro added three hits, an RBI and a run scored for Chicago.
"We had good at-bats all night," Rizzo said. "Schierholtz had a huge at-bat in the ninth."
Castillo is batting .333 with three homers, seven runs scored and nine RBI in his last 13 games.
Cubs starter Edwin Jackson earned the win even though he was touched for four runs and five hits in 5 2/3 innings. Four relievers then kept the Reds off the board, including Hector Rondon, who tossed a scoreless ninth inning.
Chicago, which will also host the rival White Sox on this homestand, hopes Travis Wood can pitch himself back into the win column Friday. Wood allowed a season-high five runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings of a 5-3 loss at Milwaukee last Saturday, falling to 1-3 in five starts with a 3.52 ERA.
The left-hander threw seven innings of one-run ball against Arizona the previous time out and even homered at the plate. Wood now faces a Cardinals team he is 3-5 against with a 5.16 ERA in 11 career starts. He went 1-3 with a 4.91 ERA in five starts against the Cardinals last season.
St. Louis took two of three matchups with the Cubs at Busch Stadium from April 11-13 and has won six of the past eight games in this NL Central showdown. The Cardinals were 5-4 at Wrigley Field last season.
05/02 08:06:50 ET