Wednesday’s Game Report: Cardinals 4, Brewers 1
By Rob Rains
Adam Wainwright has made better starts, had games when he pitched more innings, allowed fewer hits, or recorded more strikeouts.
But on Wednesday night at Busch Stadium, he and Yadier Molina made history.
For the 325th time, beginning in 2007, Wainwright and Molina started a game together for the Cardinals, setting a major-league record that legitimately likely will never be broken.
“This record is pretty darn cool,” said manager Oli Marmol. “I don’t see anyone coming close to ever touching it again. I’m glad I got to be a small part of it.”
Most important for Wainwright, Molina and Marmol, the Cardinals got a win on the historic night.
A home run from Nolan Arenado and an RBI single by Molina in the second inning gave the Cardinals more runs in that one inning than they had scored in their first 22 innings (one) against the Brewers’ Corbin Burnes this season.
That proved to be all the runs Wainwright and four relievers needed to put the Cardinals eight games ahead of the Brewers in the NL Central with 19 games to play. Their magic number for clinching the division title fell to 12.
A sold-out crowd hoping to see more history from Albert Pujols did not get to see a home run, but did see Pujols drive in a run with a double in the eighth inning, the 2,200th RBI of his career. He is only the third player in major-league history to reach that mark and is now 14 RBIs behind Babe Ruth for second on the all-time list.
Here is how the game broke down:
At the plate: Arenado’s homer was his 29th of the season and gave him 96 RBIs …Brendan Donovan and Alec Burleson followed the home run with singles in front of Molina’s RBI single. The four hits in the inning were as many as the Cardinals had in any of Burnes’ three previous starts against them this season … Lars Nootbaar led off the fifth with a long home run, estimated at 452 feet, to increase the lead to 3-1. Since July 31, the Cardinals are 23-2 in games when they hit at least two home runs … Paul Goldschmidt was 2-of-3 to raise his average to .324 but Tommy Edman saw his career-high 14-game hitting streak snapped …Pujols got to bat in the eighth thanks to a two-out infield single by Tyler O’Neill, who beat out what appeared to be a routine ground ball.
On the mound: Wainwright needed 98 pitches to get through five innings, the third consecutive start when he was pulled at that point in the game. The only time he retired the Brewers in order was his fifth and final inning, but he was still able to pick up his 195th career victory. The only run he allowed came in the second inning, on two singles and a sacrifice fly. He stranded seven runners, four in scoring position … Andre Pallante, Jordan Hicks, Giovanny Gallegos and Ryan Helsley combined to allow just two hits and two walks over the final four innings. Helsley earned his 17th save.
Key stat: The Cardinals had not hit a home run off Burnes in 44 innings, dating back to 2020, before Arenado’s homer. Nootbaar added his blast in the fifth, making it the first time they had hit two homers off Burnes since April 17, 2019. Coming into the game, their nine combined starters had one career homer off Burnes, by Goldschmidt, in 97 at-bats.
Worth noting: When Wainwright and Molina made their first start together, on April 6, 2007, Mamol was a junior in college in South Carolina. The opposing starter in the history-making game, Burnes, was 12 years old … Among current pitcher-catcher combinations, the most starts behind Wainwright and Molina is 105, by the Cubs’ Kyle Hendricks and Willson Contreras … The start was the 387th of Wainwright’s career and of the 62 which Molina didn’t start, the most games caught is 17, by Tony Cruz … In non Wainwright-Molina news, Steven Matz will throw another inning in relief for Memphis on Thursday night and is likely to rejoin the Cardinals in time for next week’s trip to San Diego, Los Angeles and Milwaukee.
Looking ahead: The Cardinals will begin a five-game series against the Reds on Thursday night at Busch Stadium. Miles Mikolas will get the start. The series includes a day-night doubleheader on Saturday.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains