In a space of five Pittsburgh Pirates hitters in the second inning Saturday, Cardinals righthander Adam Wainwright allowed four of them to reach base, clipping one in the helmet and walking another with the bases loaded. But just when it appeared the train was going off the rails, he righted it.
Wainwright proceeded to set down 14 of the next 15 hitters with just three balls leaving the infield. He finished his six-inning stint allowing just three singles and that one second-inning walk and the Cardinals scored four runs in the seventh and two more in the eighth to run off with a 9-1 victory at Busch Stadium.
Paul DeJong, Matt Carpenter and Tommy Edman each drove in two runs and Paul Goldschmidt hit his first homer as the Cardinals downed the Pirates for the second game in succession. And Wainwright caught Bob Forsch at 163 wins for third on the all-time Cardinals list. Hall of Famer Bob Gibson is first at 251 and Hall of Famer Jesse "Pop" Haines is second at 210.
Wainwright said he had become "oveheated" in the second inning on a 90-degree day.
"In really being honest with you, which I try to be most of the time," said Wainwright, "I got overheated. I started getting overheated in the top of the first. And when I went back out for the second, I couldn't break that cycle. My temperature just kept rising and I started seeing some spots."
Besides making mechanical adjustment with his hands, Wainwright said he had to find a way cool off. "I came in here (to the clubhouse), took all my clothes off, laid down on the floor with a cold ammonia towel on me to get my temperature under control and, after the second (inning), I felt good about it," he said.
But he adjusted even further. Instead of running to the mound, as is his norm, "I did a little half jog and then walked out. I barely got my warm-up stuff to the plate because I was saving those pitches," said Wainwright.
"That's one of the hotter games I've been a part of here for a while, anyway. There was no air out there. It was really hot."
Cardinals pile on with four in seventh
Wainwright left with a 3-1 lead but the Cardinals hiked that to 7-1 in the seventh when Paul DeJong delivered a two-run single with two outs and Matt Carpenter followed with a double good for two more.
Pittsburgh pitcher Kyle Crick failed to make two fielding plays which cost him in the inning and he also walked Kolten Wong. DeJong, the Cardinals' new cleanup hitter, has knocked in four runs in two games.
"Being able to calm myself in those situations allows the best 'me' to come out," said DeJong, who batted .193 with men in scoring position last year.
Cardinals play small ball to take 3-1 lead
The Cardinals, who had scored all but one of their first six runs this season on home runs, played some smaller ball in the fourth inning as they took the lead on the Pittsburgh Pirates Saturday at Busch Stadium. They parlayed four singles into two runs as they went ahead 3-1.
Paul DeJong singled to left center and, after Matt Carpenter flied out, Yadier Molina blooped a hit to right, sending DeJong to third. Consecutive singles by Dexter Fowler, to center, and Tyler O’Neill, to left, each brought in a run.
Harrison Bader fanned on a half swing with runners at second and third and Kolten Wong popped up.
Wainwright off early
Adam Wainwright, normally a monster at Busch Stadium, was off his game early Saturday, hitting a batter in the helmet and walking home a run for the first time since 2014 .
But the veteran Cardinals righthander, who had a 2.56 earned run average at home last season, managed to limit the damage to just one run in the second inning after the Pirates had loaded the bases with nobody out.
After a run had been forced in, the big out came when Wainwright retired Cole Tucker on a popup to short for the second out. He then induced Kevin Newman to ground to short on Wainwright’s 36th pitch of the game.
Paul Goldschmidt, who had reached base three times in Friday’s opener, continued his assault on Pittsburgh pitching as a Cardinal at Busch. He hit his first homer of the season with two outs in the home first, making him 21 for 42 (.500) here against the Pirates in the past two seasons.
But Goldschmidt, with a chance to put the Cardinals ahead in the third, lined to third for the final out with two runners in scoring position. An inning which began with Tyler O’Neill walking and Harrison Bader being hit by a pitch amounted to nothing as Kolten Wong popped up and Tommy Edman grounded out before Goldschmidt’s liner.
Many Cards have success against Bucs' pitcher
Six of the nine players in the Cardinals’ lineup, the same nine as Friday’s, have averages of at least .333 against Pittsburgh starter Trevor Williams. That ranges, in at-bats, from Tommy Edman’s one for three to Matt Carpenter’s eight for 23 (.348) with three homers and six runs batted in.
Kolten Wong is six for 13 (.462), Dexter Fowler is six for 16 (.375), Paul DeJong six for 17 (.352) with a homer and Paul Goldschmidt five for 13 (.385).
Adam Wainwright, the Cardinals’ starter, has had problems with first baseman Josh Bell (6-for-20, .300) and designated hitter Colin Moran, five for 14 (.357).
The Cardinals and Pirates also played a year ago Saturday in Pittsburgh. Miles Mikolas beat the Pirates 6-3.
Kim is scored on but gets first big-league save
Korean lefthander Kwang Hyun Kim had been unscored on n the exhibition season, striking out 14 in nine innings but he gave up two runs, one unearned, in the ninth inning Friday while still recording his first major league in his big-league debut.
“I don’t have much experience as the closer so I could say I was nervous because of that,” said Kim through his interpreter, Craig Choi.
“I still know I have to be better every game. I have to be much better.”
Kim was treated to what Cardinals teammates do to celebrate “firsts.” He said “We went to the showers and they got bottled water and all kinds of drinks and they poured them on me. Some of them went into my ear but the most important thing is that I have to have a clean game.”
A standout starter in the Korean Baseball Organization, Kim said the stateside baseballs are bigger and with thicker seams. But he also noted he had been using the MLB balls for six months.
“All players from around the world have to adjust to it,” said Kim, “so I cannot complain about it and get used to it.´
Gallegos ready to return
Righthanded reliever Giovanny Gallegos, who was delayed in leaving Mexico for undisclosed reasons, had another impressive session facing hitters before Saturday’s game and is likely to be added to the club either on Sunday or Tuesday.
“He was really sharp,” said manager Mike Shildt. “He was a little more consistent with his command today than a couple of days ago. So if he recovers well, you can expect to see him ready to go out of our bullpen.”
Shildt said that Carlos Martinez will start on Tuesday against the Twins at Minnesota and Miles Mikolas on Wednesday. Shildt said that infielder Max Schrock and righthander Jake Woodford, neither of whom has been in the majors, will comprise the taxi squad for a three-city trip to Minneapolis, Milwaukee and Detroit.
1. Kolten Wong 2b
2. Tommy Edman 3b
3. Paul Goldschmidt 1b
4. Paul DeJong ss
5. Matt Carpenter 3b
6. Yadier Molina c
7. Dexter Fowler rf
8. Tyler O’Neill lf
9. Harrison Bader cf
RH Adam Wainwright p
1. Kevin Newman ss
2. Bryan Reynolds rf
3. Adam Frazier 2b
4. Josh Bell 1b
5. Colin Mora dh
6. Phillip Evans 3b
7. Guillermo Heredia cf
8. John Ryan Murphy c
9. Cole Tucker rf
RH Trevor Williams p