Ace earns win over Cubs with quality start of 6 2/3 innings
By Brian Hedger
CHICAGO -- They had strong starting pitching last week, too, but the Cardinals had nothing to show for it. After dropping all five games of the last homestand to set a season high for consecutive losses, St. Louis came into Wrigley Field this week wondering when those solid pitching performances would pay off.
As it turned out, it didn't take very long. The Cardinals have gotten two more solid starts against the Cubs and won both games by a run. A day after Jaime Garcia earned a win in the opener, Adam Wainwright did the same with a quality start of his own Tuesday night, allowing three runs in 6 2/3 innings in the Cardinals' 4-3 victory.
It was the 11th straight game that a Cardinals starter worked at least six innings.
"This is what we expected all season, and it's nice to see it show up," manager Mike Matheny said. "It just needs to be demanded from themselves, and that's not asking them to do anything they're not capable of doing. This is the kind of pitching we should have. You're going to have days where it's just not going to go the way you want it to, but they're all competing well and executing pitches."
Wainwright was heavy on the competition side and not as sharp on the execution Tuesday. He allowed the leadoff hitter to get on base in each of his first four innings, leading to the Cubs' three runs, but he mitigated the damage. Along with help from some stout defense, he didn't allow a run in his final 2 2/3 innings.
Wainwright is back in the rotation after missing most of last season with an Achilles injury, and St. Louis signed Mike Leake as a free agent in the offseason to replace John Lackey, who signed with the Cubs. The other three in the rotation -- Garcia, Carlos Martinez and Michael Wacha -- are back from last season, when the Cardinals' rotation was one of the best in the Major Leagues.
"The names in the clubhouse are not much different than last year, when they set all the stinking starting pitcher records [here]," Wainwright said. "You look at the other guys in the rotation and look at me and [Leake], you can see what we're capable of doing. This is who we are. The first month and a half, myself, I was terrible. Some other guys hadn't pitched their full capabilities, but we're going to be rolling."
Brian Hedger is a contributor to MLB.com based in Chicago. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.