Wainwright will try to help the St. Louis Cardinals avoid a season-high third consecutive loss on Monday night when these NL Central foes renew their rivalry.
Trying to build off a season-opening 4-2 homestand, the Reds (14-12) dropped two of three at Busch from April 8-10. St. Louis took the final two games of that series by a combined 15-1 score, but its home opener was spoiled with the bullpen giving up nine ninth-inning runs in a 13-4 defeat.
With closer Jason Motte possibly facing reconstructive elbow surgery, St. Louis' bullpen continues to falter. That group has a major league-worst 5.94 ERA after surrendering 11 runs in a pair of losses over the weekend to Pittsburgh, which moved one-half game in front of the Cardinals (14-10) for the Central lead."Yeah, it's hard to be positive, but at the same time you have to do everything you can to fight every single day and I'm doing that," Mitchell Boggs said after getting charged with three runs in the ninth inning of Sunday's 9-0 loss.
Cardinals starters lead the majors with a 2.18 ERA and Wainwright (4-1, 1.93 ERA) is a big reason why. The right-hander has a chance to match a career high with five consecutive winning starts, last accomplished Aug. 26 in an 8-2 victory in Cincinnati.
St. Louis' ace was two outs shy of his second complete game of the season on Tuesday, a 2-0 road win over Washington.
"I'm disappointed I didn't finish it, but at the same time, I knew I threw a quality game and we won the game," Wainwright told the Cardinals' official website. "So I can't really hang my head."
He felt the same way about walking his first batter of the season.
The Reds have an NL-best 106 walks after drawing four in Sunday's 5-2 win in Washington. Cincinnati had lost three straight and eight in a row on the road since the Cardinals' home opener.
Monday's scheduled starter Mat Latos (1-0, 2.16) left that game after giving up four runs in six innings. The right-hander owns a 10.23 ERA in five starts in St. Louis, but he's yielded just one run in each of his last two starts there.
Latos didn't allow any in Wednesday's 1-0 win over the Chicago Cubs , extending his scoreless innings streak to 11 despite not getting much out of his secondary pitches.
"It was just a matter of hitting my spots and being able to make key pitches when I needed to," Latos told the Reds' official website.
That could be key against center fielder Jon Jay , whose .450 batting average (9 for 20) off Latos is the highest among those that have faced him more than 15 times.
Brandon Phillips has faced Wainwright more than any other current Red, going 9 for 34 with a homer.
Jay Bruce , who has six hits - including a home run - in 18 at-bats off Wainwright, could be batting out of the sixth spot again after getting two hits on Saturday when manager Dusty Baker dropped him from the five-hole for the first time this season.
Joey Votto , 1 for 17 off Wainwright, went 4 for 10 at Busch from April 8-10 as the Reds failed to win their fourth series in St. Louis since 2003.
|April 27, 2013||Chris Heisey||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained hamstring|
|April 24, 2013||Manny Parra||15-Day DL||Strained left pectoral muscle|
|April 22, 2013||Jonathan Broxton||Day-to-Day||Bruised right hand|
|April 20, 2013||Zack Cozart||Day-to-Day||Left game - bruised right hand|
|April 20, 2013||Ryan Hanigan||15-Day DL||Strained left oblique|
|April 14, 2013||Johnny Cueto||15-Day DL||Strained right lat|
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|April 22, 2013||Matt Adams||15-Day DL||Right oblique strain|
|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 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|
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Mat Latos tweaked his right hip on a swing during his first at-bat in the second inning. He never let it show on the mound.
Latos outpitched Adam Wainwright without his typical followthrough, extending his scoreless streak to 17 innings, and the Cincinnati Reds got an RBI apiece from Joey Votto and Xavier Paul in a 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday night.
"I felt some tightness and it just nagged me throughout the whole game," Latos said. "I really pushed myself that last inning.
"It shows you what you're capable of, going against a guy like that."
Aroldis Chapman worked a perfect ninth for his sixth save in six chances, completing the third road victory in 11 games for the Reds and handing St. Louis its third straight loss.
"We're far from satisfied," Reds manager Dusty Baker said.
Yadier Molina had three of the Cardinals' seven hits, including an RBI double off Jonathan Broxton that produced their first run in 17 innings. The Cardinals stranded 10 runners and went 2 for 11 with runners in scoring position after entering with a major league-leading .355 average.
The Cardinals, who hadn't lost consecutive games this season before dropping the last two against the Pirates over the weekend, have lost three in a row for the first time since Sept. 10-12 at San Diego.
"I thought we had some decent at-bats, we just couldn't break through in that big spot," said cleanup man Allen Craig , who had two hits but also failed twice with two men on. "I had a couple of opportunities to drive in some runs and just didn't get it done."
Wainwright (4-2) trailed just six pitches in after Shin-Soo Choo doubled on his first offering, advanced on a sacrifice and scored on Votto's single, just the 13th RBI in 36 career games at Busch Stadium for the Reds' third-place hitter. Over his final six innings, the right-hander gave up three hits and one run on Paul's broken-bat grounder in the fourth set up by hits from Brandon Phillips and Todd Frazier .
"I expect most teams to be aggressive against me," Wainwright said. "It feeds into my game plan, and if they're not they're going to be 0-2, 1-2 real quick.
"They've got some great hitters over there, and we lost a tough game. Not much more to say."
Wainwright walked two, one intentionally, after issuing just one in 37 1-3 innings over his first five starts.
Latos (2-0) allowed five hits and walked three over six innings in his sixth quality start in as many outings this season. The Reds have scored just four runs in his last three appearances.
"Every night he goes out there, he's that guy where we know we have a really good shot of winning as long as we can put up a couple of runs," Paul said. "He's that type of pitcher. That's the type of pitcher you want facing Wainwright."
The Cardinals had two baserunners in an inning four times against Latos. Craig, who came in 7 for 11 with runners in scoring position and two outs, failed twice in that situation with forceouts to end the third and fifth innings.
"It's one of those things where one mistake could cost you the game, especially with the way (Wainwright) has been pitching," Latos said. "I just beared down and attacked as much as possible."
NOTES: Jaime Garcia (2-1, 2.89 ERA) has eight wins over the Reds - double that of any other opponent - entering Tuesday's start against Bronson Arroyo (2-2, 4.24). Arroyo is 8-14 against the Cardinals and has lost his last two starts, including a 5-1 loss on April 9 in St. Louis. ... St. Louis slugger Carlos Beltran did not start a day after being taken out of the game with flu-like symptoms, but flied out as a pinch hitter in the eighth and is expected to play Tuesday. ... Molina is 2 for 2 on steals after catching Latos napping and taking third without a play in the fourth and is 6 for 6 stealing third the last two seasons. ... Cardinals slugger David Freese is in an 0-for-16 slump that has dropped his average to .163 after failing to get the ball out of the infield in four at-bats. Daniel Descalso also is hitless in 16 at-bats after a pinch-hit groundout in the seventh. ... Wainwright has 951 strikeouts with St. Louis, tied for seventh on the career list with Steve Carlton .