Game Report: Cardinals 9, Pirates 1
By Rob Rains
Adam Wainwright did not have to look over his left shoulder to see Austin Gomber warming up in the Cardinals’ bullpen in the second inning on Saturday at Busch Stadium.
In an empty, quiet stadium, Wainwright heard him, and he knew by the sound that Gomber was heating up fast.
So was Wainwright, and not in a good way.
Pitching on what he said was one of the hottest days he could remember in a long time, Wainwright had to fight through the inning before he finally had a chance to cool off back in the clubhouse.
That battle included pitching out of a bases loaded, nobody out jam, limiting the Pirates to one run in what became an easy Cardinals win thanks to a late outburst from the team’s offense.
“I got overheated,” Wainwright said. “I started getting overheated in the first and went back out for the second and couldn’t break that cycle. My temperature kept rising and I started seeing some spots so I had to step off and breath a little bit.
“It was hot. There was no air out there. It was really hot.”
Wainwright hit Phillip Evans with a pitch to load the bases after back to back singles to open the inning, then got the key out by striking out Guillermo Heredia. A walk to John Ryan Murphy brought in the run, but Wainwright then got the next two outs on a popup and grounder to finish the inning and keep Gomber in the bullpen.
The walk to Murphy was only the seventh time in Wainwright’s career in 155 plate appearances that he walked in a run; the first time he had done that since 2014.
“If you pitch a bunch of years you run into that every now and then where you realize something has gotten away from you,” Wainwright said. “Today my body temperature got away from me and you’ve got to learn how to grind through that. Especially when you get to be the old owl on the team, things get a little harder as you get older.
“The pitch of that whole inning that was huge was the 3-1 curveball to Heredia. When I was able to land that and he swung and missed it, then knowing me and what I like to do sometimes, he was probably sitting curveball again 3-2 and I was able to locate a fastball down and away. That changed the whole inning. If I make a bad pitch there then who knows what happens that inning.”
Wainwright finally had a chance to cool off after the inning.
“I came in here (the clubhouse) and laid down and took all my clothes off and had ammonia towels on me and tried to get my temperature back under control and after the second I felt good about it,” he said.
That showed as Wainwright was able to pitch through the sixth, retiring 14 of the last 15 hitters he faced before turning the game over to the bullpen.
Here is how the game broke down:
At the plate: Leading 3-1, the Cardinals broke the game open with four runs in the seventh and two more in the eighth. Paul DeJong had a two-run single and Matt Carpenter a two-run double in the seventh and Tommy Edman drove in two runs with a triple in the eighth … Paul Goldschmidt homered in the first inning and Dexter Fowler and Tyler O’Neill contributed RBI singles in the fourth … All of the starters had at least one hit, drove in a run or scored a run.
On the mound: Wainwright extended his streak of consecutive starts at home without a loss to the Pirates to 13. The last time he lost at home against the Pirates was on June 29, 2012. He is 6-0 with seven no-decisions in the 13 starts, with the Cardinals going 11-2 in those games … The win was Wainwright’s 163rd with the Cardinals, tying him with Bob Forsch for the third most in franchise history … John Gant worked 1 2/3 scoreless innings before Tyler Webb and Daniel Ponce de Leon combined to record the final four outs to finish off the victory. The Pirates had only two baserunners after the second inning, Murphy singled leading off the fifth and Bryan Reynolds drew a two-out walk off Gant in the eighth.
Key stat: DeJong became only the second cleanup hitter for the Cardinals since 2000 to drive in two or more runs in the first two games of the season. The other player to do it was Carlos Beltran in 2013. Will Clark drove in multiple runs in the first three games of the 2000 season.
Worth noting: The Cardinals used the exact same lineup in spots one through nine in consecutive home games for the first time since games 6 and 7 of the 1982 World Series. In that year the designated hitter was used in the NL city in the World Series … Giovanny Gallegos is expected to be added as the 30th player on the Cardinals roster on Sunday … Infielder Max Schrock and pitcher Jake Woodford will be the two-man taxi squad for the Cardinals for their first road trip of the season next week. The team does not have to carry a catcher on the taxi squad because they already have a third catcher, Andrew Knizner, on the active roster.
Looking ahead: Dakota Hudson will get the start on Sunday in the final game of the series before the Cardinals head out on their first road trip to Minnesota, Milwaukee and Detroit.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains