(Busch Stadium) With a little something extra on his fastball tonight, Adam Wainwright struck out eight batters and helped the St. Louis Cardinals to a 3-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
“When I’m lined up and timed up well, I can still get back a couple of miles on the fastball,” Wainwright said. “Tonight I was timed up. Wieters and I did a good job. We worked on the corners pretty well. Worked up and down well. It’s a tough lineup over there, some really good young players and you have to make pitches.”
“I think he used his off-speed stuff too, which set it up even better,” Matt Wieters said. “So with the extra life as well as still pitching his normal pitchers game he was able to kind of get a few more swing and misses than probably foul balls on other occasions. It’s fun when you can play his curveball with the 93 mile per hour fastball, we had a lot of success.”
After a lead-off home run to Adam Frazier, Wainwright retired 10 of the next 11 hitters he faced.
“That guy’s given me fits this year at the beginning of the game,” Wainwright exclaimed. “His first at-bat off me every time–I’ve either walked him or it’s been a homer.”
Besides swing and miss stuff, Wainwright was aided by some big defensive plays–none bigger than Paul DeJong snaring a line drive from Josh Bell with the bases loaded in the fifth inning.
“That was a really athletic play,” Mike Shildt echoed. “Really super, athletic play and a huge play. We’re a little bit tighter because Marte can run. So we’re not expecting a double play ball. We don’t have to be tight-tight because we can read the ball because we’ve got although an athletic pitcher at third, we’ve got a force with the bases loaded. We put him in the right spot, but he was the one who made the play. And give Waino a lot of credit–first of all, righting the ship. But also give him the credit, he had good tempo. Threw strikes. Controlled counts. Engaged your defense. This is not a real big secret, we’re always going to play better defense when our pitchers have that rhythm, working ahead, and taking the fight to the other team.”
The win improved Wainwright to 8-8 on the season and 6-2 this year at Busch Stadium. He is 2-6 on the road with a 6.96 ERA.
“I can’t describe why it’s happened,” Wainwright said of his splits.
“I like pitching at home in front of our fans, I really do,” he added. “I had a cool moment today where Bell was up there and 1-2. I already know the pitch, I already visualized what it’s going to do and where I’m going to throw it. I stepped off and kind of gave the crowd a second to get a little more fired up and juice me up a little bit. I mean, I live for that stuff.”
photo credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports