(BaseballStL) -- It didn't take long for it to be brought up. One of the first questions asked at Adam Wainwright's news conference Tuesday was about his blow-up in game 5 against the Washington Nationals last year.
Wainwright gave up six runs in 2 1/3rd innings and was knocked out of the game with the Cardinals trailing 6-0.
"I'm a motivator," joked Wainwright. "I knew that day that I was going to have to go out and pitch bad so our team could really get some mojo flowing."
The Cardinals certainly found their mojo, staging a dramatic rally to come back and beat the Nationals.
Wainwright says he doesn't think he'll have another dreadful performance like that on Wednesday night against Pittsburgh.
"This year is completely different than last year. I learned some valuable lessons last year. I persevered through some hard times. Last year my stuff was hit or miss all year long."
Wainwright struggled with his command in his first season following Tommy John surgery. Now in his second year since the operation he says he's back to full strength.
"This year I have all the confidence in the world in my stuff. I know I'll be prepared. I'll be confident going into the game. It's just a completely different situation.
Suffering that sort of beat down in a winner-take-all game 5 is not something any competitor would easily forget. "It did stick with me for awhile. Anytime you pitch a terrible game like that you think back on it and the opportunity you let go. But the good thing is we won the game, and that's the most important thing."
It's possible the Cardinals could overcome another shaky start by Wainwright against the Pirates, but they'd prefer to win without the drama of having to come from six runs behind as they did against Washington.