(BaaseballStL) — The Cardinal offense showed up early and never went away Saturday, registering 10 runs on 13 hits and spreading the attack over three innings.
Starting pitcher Adam Wainwright was glad they did, as the two-time All Star did not post his sharpest outing of the season.
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He managed seven innings on 101 pitches, striking out eight while surrendering seven hits and four earned runs.
After the game, Wainwright mentioned that his command was close but not as tight as he would have liked.
“It was just too many balls in the middle of the plate,” he said. “They put some good swings in that sixth inning on some balls over the middle of the plate.”
The tone was set long before the sixth when Junior Lake belted the first pitch of the game out of the park, establishing Chicago's approach within the first few seconds of action.
“He’s an aggressive hitter. I should have known he was swinging there,” Wainwright said. “That’s ok to throw a fastball when you know they’re swinging, you just have to locate your heater.”
The Cardinal ace adjusted and got out of the inning without damage, but Chicago hitters stayed aggressive all day.
“Today it was pretty obvious they were looking for something and they weren’t going to let it pass by without making a strong pass at it,” Mike Matheny said after the game.
Cubs hitters made good contact, notching four doubles and flying out deep to the outfield several times on solid plays made by Matt Holliday and Jon Jay. Unlike his first two starts, Wainwright did not walk anyone Saturday. For the 32-year-old, it was less about not missing, and more about where he missed.
“My other two starts I walked a few guys and I felt very close to being in command of everything completely,” he said. “Today I was the same- I’m close. But today instead of being just off the plate, I was just on the plate and usually I’m going to be a little more on the corners.”
Despite leaving a few over the dish, he was able to pitch through the seventh inning- a feat no other Cardinal starter has accomplished this year. It came at the right time, as the 11-inning affair the night before had worn the bullpen thin.
“Because our offense was so great I did what they needed me to do,” Wainwright said. “Just go a little later in the game and give some bullpen guys some rest.”
“We needed that,” Matheny said of his starter’s longevity. “There were a couple of guys we were wanting to stay away from for sure.”
10 different Cardinals registered a hit in the game. One of which was the big starter himself. Though his early walk totals may make his goal of less walks that starts a tougher climb, Saturday’s hit kept hope alive for his loftier dream: a Silver Slugger.
“Oh yeah. Yeah, that was good,” he said through a big grin. “Obviously the turning point in the game.”