Former Cardinal Carpenter delivers to deal Wainwright another loss as St. Louis offense again falls flat

The Cardinals went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position Monday to waste Adam Wainwright’s best outing of the year.
St. Louis Cardinals' Andrew Knizner walks back to the dugout after striking out with the bases...
St. Louis Cardinals' Andrew Knizner walks back to the dugout after striking out with the bases loaded during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres Monday, Aug. 28, 2023, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)(Jeff Roberson | AP)
Published: Aug. 29, 2023 at 1:45 AM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - For as much as Adam Wainwright yearns for two more wins, the prospect of moving one step closer toward the milestone 200 for his career wasn’t the only goal he had in mind for Monday night’s start at Busch Stadium.

With Matt Carpenter in the opposing lineup for the Padres, Wainwright was determined to avoid one particular outcome against his former teammate.

“My main focus⁠—other than getting him out⁠—was he is not hitting a home run off of me,” Wainwright said. “That is not going to be on my conscience the rest of my life.

“There were a couple of times where the right pitch might have been the ride-back sinker on the inside half. But I knew he knew me. I thought, ‘If he’s cheating to anything, it’ll be that.’ Just to throw one over the fence and have that on me for the rest of my life. And I’m not going to do it.”

While Wainwright ultimately succeeded in keeping Carpenter away from the long ball against him on Monday, the former Cardinal still tagged the St. Louis starter for a key RBI in the sixth inning to break up a scoreless ball game.

Looping his second base hit of the night in front of right fielder Jordan Walker, Carpenter delivered the only run the Padres would score against Wainwright in the game.

“Stinkin’ Carp, golly,” Wainwright teased. “I’m going to send him some room service at four o’clock this morning or something.”

With a birthday coming up for Wainwright on Wednesday, Carpenter’s sixth-inning base hit helped ensure that Wainwright’s final start as a 41-year-old ended with him as the hard-luck loser. The St. Louis offense offered Wainwright no run support in his quest for career-win No. 199 as the Cardinals fell to the Padres, 4-1.

The loss for Wainwright dropped him to 3-10 on the season. Since May 29, the Cardinals are 2-12 in Wainwright starts, with the veteran posting an unsightly 0-9 record in that span. He has earned a losing decision in six consecutive starts.

For the majority of his losses this season, it’s been hard to suggest that Wainwright didn’t deserve the notches being added to the ‘L’ column on his record. But Monday simply wasn’t one of those nights.

Wainwright secured his third quality start of the season, holding down the Padres through six innings of one-run baseball. It was the first time in 2023 in which Wainwright allowed fewer than two earned runs in a start.

Despite the unsavory result, Wainwright managed to pitch a solid game after garnering some inspiration from his former self.

Asked after the game about his decision Monday to abandon his typical high-socks attire on the mound, Wainwright explained to reporters that the switch came after he had recently dug into video from his 2014 season and enjoyed the aesthetic of his younger self sans the high-socks.

“I was watching some video from 2014 and I saw I had my pants down, and I looked kind of studly out there,” Wainwright joked. “So I thought, maybe I’ll try that.”

In such a difficult stretch, Wainwright figured switching up his fashion routine was worth a shot.

“Look, I’m trying anything,” he said. “I shaved my beard off. Went with the long pants. I’m not overly superstitious, but shoot, I’ll try anything. We need to get this ship going in the right direction.”

Beyond the fashion statement that came from watching video of himself from nearly a decade ago, Wainwright gleaned that his review of the 2014 film led to reigniting the distinct mindset advantage he felt that he held over the competition in that season.

“2014 was the year that I felt most mentally in control of the entire game,” Wainwright said. “(In) ‘13, I probably felt the strongest I ever felt. But ‘14, I felt like I was three steps ahead of the hitters I was facing.

“I just wanted to kind of look and see if I could remember, recall⁠—which most of the time, I can⁠—what my mindset was behind each pitch, each at-bat. Why I threw what I did. I was playing the ‘X’ game on both sides⁠—sink, cut, sink, cut. Up, down, in and out. That was fun. I like having fun out there.”

Wainwright’s renaissance against San Diego still ended with a familiar, sour result as the Cardinal offense simply couldn’t scratch across any runs against Blake Snell. The Padres’ lefty walked five batters but was lethal when he could get the Cardinals to chase. Snell struck out nine hitters and allowed only two base hits across seven scoreless frames. Paul Goldschmidt’s solo homer in the eighth provided the Cardinals’ lone run.

St. Louis finished 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position Monday and added to a league-worst track record in bases-loaded situations. After the Cardinals loaded ‘em up in the fourth inning, Snell sent Andrew Knizner and Jordan Walker down on strikes consecutively to end the threat. St. Louis is hitting just .176 with the bases loaded this season, ranking far and away 30th out of 30 teams in MLB.

The Cardinals have scored just four runs across their last four games, compiling just 26 runs scored in their previous 12 games.

“He’s out there wanting to win, we’re out there wanting to win,” Cardinals manager Oli Marmol said regarding the disappointment in wasting the strong outing by Wainwright. “Everyone has the same mentality and they’re getting after it. But you go through some stretches where you don’t hit. That’s what we’re experiencing at the moment... Right now, in one of those (stretches) where our guys aren’t feeling great at the plate. Some guys are, some guys aren’t. It’s hard to get them to string together at-bats. That’s just where we’re at.”