(BaseballStL) -- The box score won't indicate how well Adam Wainwright pitched against the Kansas City Royals Wednesday night.
But instead of pitching his way into his ninth career complete game shutout, the Cardinals blew a two-nothing lead in the bottom of the ninth and Wainwright came away without his ninth win of the season.
Throwing 111 pitches, Wainwright saw two batters in the ninth inning. He struck out the lead off batter, Eric Hosmer, but the ball squirted away from Yadier Molina and allowed Hosmer to reach first base. Wainwright then gave up a single up the middle to Billy Butler and his night was over.
Mike Matheny defended the decision to send Wainwright out for the ninth.
"The pitch count was 104 when he went back out," Matheny explained, "Right there we're in a spot where we're going to look at our ace and that's his game. Obviously, that didn't work, but that's the guy we want on the mound in a big situation right now."
Wainwright, who was just three outs away from his third complete game shutout this season, was lifted by Matheny who pulled him in favor of closer Trevor Rosenthal. Rosenthal, pitching in his hometown, blew his third save of the season going 1.0 inning and allowed one hit.
"[We] put [Rosenthal] in a real tough spot and that once again didn't work how we wante it to," Matheny continued, "We know he can handle that spot. There are always tough decisions. We have a lot of faith in Trevor, but we're looking at one of the best pitchers in all of baseball. And that's the decision we wanted to go with."
The two runs allowed in the ninth were charged to Wainwright, who threw eight shutout innings. He didn't give up a hit until the sixth inning, but instead he was on the hook for the loss if the Cardinals couldn't squeak out a win in extra innings. But his offense picked him up in the eleventh providing three runs to give the Cards the win.
"Once you lose the lead with a start like that from [Wainwright] there are a lot of teams that will rollover in that situation," said Matheny, "I thought we saw the guys step up."
On May 25th, Wainwright threw another eight shutout innings against the Cincinnati Reds and had an ERA of just 1.67. But in his last two starts, his ERA has gone up almost an entire run to 2.31.