The right-hander will be on the mound in his third opening-day start when the St. Louis Cardinals face the remodeled Arizona Diamondbacks , who for the second year in a row will open with Ian Kennedy .
Wainwright's start comes four days after he agreed to contract that guarantees him $109.5 million over the next six seasons. Last year, Wainwright was 14-13 with a 3.94 ERA after missing all of the team's 2011 championship season because of elbow surgery." He's the full package of the guy you look for in your ace," St. Louis right-hander Jake Westbrook said. "He has all those qualities. We are going to feed off of him and go from there."
Wainwright leads a St. Louis team that, as always, begins with high expectations. The Cardinals fully expect to supply Wainwright and the rest of their pitching staff with plenty of run support."I think we've been very good over the past two years," said first baseman Allen Craig , who also has a new contract, "and I don't see any reason why we can't be one of the best offenses in the National League this year."
The Diamondbacks, meanwhile, have traded right fielder Justin Upton and added Martin Prado at third base. Three projected regulars - outfielders Adam Eaton and Cody Ross , and shortstop Willie Bloomquist - open on the disabled list."We don't need any more injuries," manager Kirk Gibson said.
Eaton, the speedy rookie center fielder, is out for six-to-eight weeks with an arm injury. He was to be the leadoff batter in a lineup that wants to rely more on contact hitting than on home runs.
Kennedy, a 21-game winner in Arizona's NL West championship season of 2011, started slowly last year but finished strong, going 15-12 with a 4.02 ERA overall.
Arizona catcher Miguel Montero raved about the rebuilt roster, especially in terms of team chemistry."We've got a good solid lineup and bench players," he said. "More than that we've got good solid players with good personalities and great attitudes. That's great - veteran guys that have been around winning ball clubs and can bring a lot to the team."
The most significant addition is Prado, who came to Arizona in the deal that sent Upton to Atlanta. Prado will bat in his customary No. 2 spot, with Aaron Hill dropping to third in the batting order. Both Prado and Hill batted over .300 last season.
Montero moves into the cleanup spot, at least for now. Gibson has a history of juggling his batting order.
First baseman Paul Goldschmidt , who just got a new contract after just one full season in the majors, bats fifth, followed by Jason Kubel , the only returnee from the Arizona openting-day outfield a year ago.Gibson, entering his third full season as Diamondbacks manager, calls this "a very close" group."They've had a good time, they work together, they talk about the game, they're engaged in the things that we've worked on," he said. "They've been open to it. They haven't been bored with it. They've executed in the games. They've been open to looking at themselves when things didn't go the way we wanted, understanding why mistakes are made. You can tell right now they're ready for the season to start. ... There's a lot of good conversation going on about where we're headed and how we're going to get there."
Mike Matheny opens his second season as Cardinals manager.
Centerfielder Jon Jay will bat leadoff for St. Louis."If you are hitting at the top of the order you definitely want to score runs and we've got the guys who are capable of doing it," Jay said. "My job is simple: get on base and hope we score a lot of runs."
Arizona will start slimmed-down right-hander Trevor Cahill on Tuesday, and St. Louis goes with left-hander Jaime Garcia . On Wednesday night, right-hander Brandon McCarthy makes his Arizona debut in his first big league start since he sustained a horrific head injury when he was struck by a line drive while pitching for Oakland last September. Right-hander Lance Lynn starts the series finale for the Cardinals.
The rotation for the Cardinals is perhaps the team's biggest uncertainty.Asked whether he was comfortable with his rotation, Matheny said, "Comfortable is a word I don't like because I don't want anybody feeling comfortable."I want everybody on the edge normally," he said. "Go out and do their job, they can always do better, They can consistently improve. That's been a pretty common theme for us and I want them to continue."
AP Sports Writer R.B. Fallstrom in St. Louis contributed to this report.
Follow Bob Baum at www.twitter.com/Thebaumerphx
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|March 26, 2013||David Freese||Day-to-Day||Strained back|
|March 24, 2013||Rafael Furcal||15-Day DL||Right elbow surgery - out for season|
|March 23, 2013||David Freese||15-Day DL||Strained lower back|
|March 22, 2013||Jason Motte||15-Day DL||Strained right elbow|
|March 07, 2013||Rafael Furcal||Day-to-Day||Right elbow surgery - out for season|
|February 22, 2013||Chris Carpenter||60-Day DL||Nerve irritation, right shoulder|
|March 30, 2013||Didi Gregorius||15-Day DL||Right elbow strain|
|March 27, 2013||Willie Bloomquist||15-Day DL||Strained right intercostal|
|March 27, 2013||Willie Bloomquist||Day-to-Day||Strained right oblique|
|March 22, 2013||Cody Ross||15-Day DL||Left calf strain|
|March 22, 2013||Adam Eaton||15-Day DL||Left elbow strain|
|February 18, 2013||Daniel Hudson||60-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
PHOENIX (AP) -- The Arizona Diamondbacks opened their season with a textbook example of the way their remodeled offense is supposed to play.
No home runs - and lots of base hits.
The Diamondbacks used 15 hits, seven of them doubles, to beat the St. Louis Cardinals 6-2 on Monday night.
"The team was in synch tonight," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. "Everybody picked everybody up."
There was plenty of offense for Ian Kennedy , who struck out eight in seven innings. Kennedy (1-0) allowed two runs on five hits with one walk.
"He just had everything working, the fastball pumped up to 94 (mph)," Gibson said. "That's kind of the old Ian we saw a couple of years ago."
St. Louis' Adam Wainwright (0-1) went six innings, giving up four runs, three earned, on 11 hits. He struck out six with no walks.
Arizona's Gerardo Parra , batting leadoff, matched his career best with four hits, three of them doubles. Rookie A.J. Pollock was 3 for 4, including a two-run double, and Martin Prado doubled twice with an RBI and two runs scored for the Diamondbacks.
"I'm happy because it's a good team," Parra said. "Maybe we don't have a lot of power, but we have a lot of fast guys, a lot of contact guys."
Matt Holliday had an RBI double and Daniel Descalso a run-scoring single for St. Louis.
The Diamondbacks' seven doubles were more than they had in any game in the last two seasons.
Kennedy, 15-12 last year after going 21-4 in 2011, dominated after giving up consecutive one-out doubles to Matt Carpenter and Holliday to put St. Louis up 1-0 in the first.
David Hernandez threw a perfect eighth and Brad Ziegler did the same in the ninth for the Diamondbacks.
Arizona scored three times off Wainwright in the fourth.
After one-out singles by Miguel Montero and Paul Goldschmidt , Jason Kubel lofted an RBI double to right-center to tie it at 1. Pollock, starting because of injuries to Adam Eaton and Cody Ross , lined a double off the glove of center fielder Jon Jay to bring in two and Arizona led 3-1.
"The fourth inning was weird because I was driving the ball real well early on, but the fourth inning I just didn't drive it anymore and they made good swings," Wainwright said. "A couple of good swings on their part and a couple of well-placed fly balls with that huge outfield, there is nothing you can do about it. That is why you have to keep the ball on the ground."
The Diamondbacks added an unearned run on second baseman Descalso's throwing error in the fifth. Prado, acquired from Atlanta in the Justin Upton trade, doubled to deep right-center, then Aaron Hill hit a slow grounder to second. Descalso threw in the dirt trying to throw to first and the ball bounced off the glove of first baseman Allen Craig as Prado raced home to make it 4-1.
Arizona got two more in the seventh. With Fernando Salas on the mound, Parra and Prado doubled, then Hill singled. Marc Rzepczynski relieved Salas and gave up an RBI sacrifice fly to Montero.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said Wainwright "was pretty good" despite the results.
"He had a lot of life on his fastball, and he established that early," Matheny said. "They put some tough at-bats against him. Real good pitches he made once he got his curveball going, and they were just fouling them off."
Parra lined a shot to the mound in the third, but Wainwright was able to get his glove on it, deflected the hit off his shoulder. He said afterward he was fine.
Notes: Entering the game, Kennedy was 1-3 against Cardinals with an 8.59 ERA. ... Kennedy was the winning pitcher when Arizona beat San Francisco in its season opener a year ago. ... Former Diamondbacks ace Brandon Webb , whose career was cut short by arm trouble, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. ... Wainwright made his second career opening day start. ... The Cardinals send left-hander Jaime Garcia to the mound Tuesday night while the Diamondbacks go with right-hander Trevor Cahill . ... The only other Arizona rookie with three hits on opening day was Travis Lee , who did it in the Diamondbacks' first game in 1998. ... Attendance was a sellout of 48,033.