He also figures to face stiff competition from counterpart Matt Harvey , who appears to be good to go following last week's injury scare.
Wainwright takes the mound opposite the unbeaten Harvey as the visiting St. Louis Cardinals conclude a three-game set with the Mets on Thursday, weather permitting.
Leading the majors with a 13.0 strikeout-to-walk ratio - more than twice as high as the next guy - Wainwright (9-3, 2.34 ERA) has struck out 28 and issued two free passes during a four-start winning streak since losing to the Mets last month. He turned in another superb effort Friday, giving up two runs and seven hits over seven innings during a 9-2 win at Cincinnati.
Wainwright won five consecutive starts Aug. 4-26.
"I think it's just another way of mixing things up and being the complete pitcher," Wainwright, who kept switching his mechanics, told MLB's official website. "As long as you're OK in your delivery and can mix speeds with your pitches, why not mix with your delivery? Give them a different look - one over the head, one not. I just think it's a different way to give different looks."
Wainwright could certainly afford to change things up versus New York (24-36). The right-hander has gone 1-4 over seven regular-season games - five starts - in the series while compiling a 7.29 ERA, by far his highest mark against any NL opponent. He gave up four runs in six innings during a 5-2 loss May 16.
After beating St. Louis (42-23) by a 5-1 score Wednesday thanks to homers from David Wright , Duda and Marlon Byrd , the Mets will try to back Harvey (5-0, 2.10) with a similar display. The emerging superstar has received an average of just 2.66 runs of support over his last nine starts, a stretch during which he's gone 1-0 with a 2.66 ERA.
Harvey scattered six hits and struck out six over seven innings of one-run ball in Saturday's 2-1, 20-inning loss to Miami. He came out to warm up in the eighth but was removed due to tightness in his lower back.
Harvey, though, received treatment immediately and is expected to be fine going forward.
"We can't risk this guy getting hurt," manager Terry Collins said. "It would be one of the worst decisions you can make to let this guy go out there, as competitive as he is, and pitch with a possible injury that could not only hurt his back even worse, but have him change his delivery where he could hurt his arm."
After checking out OK, the only thing that would prevent Harvey from pitching is the weather. With thunderstorms expected in the area, the Mets are preparing for their seventh rainout.
"It doesn't look good, I know that," Collins said. "I don't think anybody in baseball has gone through what we've gone through this year.
"We've had so many days off early, it's not like anybody's tired, but when it starts getting 90 degrees every day and it's July, it's going to take its toll to where you've really got to make sure guys are getting days off to keep their energy up, because it's going to wear them down."
Cardinals third baseman David Freese went 0 for 4 on Wednesday, ending his career-best 20-game hitting streak - the majors' longest this season.
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|May 26, 2013||John Gast||15-Day DL||Left shoulder tightness|
|May 26, 2013||Carlos Beltran||Day-to-Day||Left shoulder soreness|
|May 25, 2013||John Gast||Day-to-Day||Left game - left shoulder tightness|
|May 21, 2013||Fernando Salas||15-Day DL||Right shoulder irritation|
|May 18, 2013||Jaime Garcia||60-Day DL||Left shoulder strain|
|May 09, 2013||Jake Westbrook||15-Day DL||Right elbow inflammation|
|New York Mets|
|June 08, 2013||Matt Harvey||Day-to-Day||Left game - lower back tightness|
|May 30, 2013||Jonathon Niese||Day-to-Day||Left shoulder tendinitis|
|May 30, 2013||Ruben Tejada||15-Day DL||Right quad strain|
|May 29, 2013||Ruben Tejada||Day-to-Day||Left game - quad injury|
|May 14, 2013||Scott Atchison||15-Day DL||Right elbow inflammation|
|May 09, 2013||Jeurys Familia||60-Day DL||Right elbow surgery|
NEW YORK (AP) -- Adam Wainwright used to be a creature of routine leading up to each start.
"Same sleeping shirt the night before," the St. Louis Cardinals ace said. "I couldn't wear blue jeans. I had to wear the color red. Are you kidding me? It was ridiculous. If I didn't have any of that, or worse, if something was thrown off, then instantly I was thinking, `Oh, man, I'm in trouble.' And that's ridiculous. It has nothing to do with getting anyone out. I figured that out somewhere along the line."
With rain falling in the morning and clashing forecasts for the afternoon, Wainwright wasn't sure whether he'd pitch at all Thursday.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny told him about 80 minutes before start time to get ready, so Wainwright shortened his pregame routine and then pitched seven scoreless innings to become the major leagues' first 10-game winner. In a classic pitching matchup, his 2-1 victory over the New York Mets sent Matt Harvey to his first loss of the season.
"We had two Cy Young candidates going at each other," said Matt Carpenter , who tripled in the go-ahead run in the third and preserved the lead with a sparkling stop at second base in the ninth.
Some forecasts had predicted up to 3 inches of rain.
"Two days ago, they were talking about we were going to need to build an ark," Matheny said. "That's tough on the starting pitcher. As he's walking through here an hour-and-a-half before the game, he's completely out of his routine because he's hearing conflicting stories of what's going to happen with weather. But he got his mind together and got into an abbreviated version of his routine and went out and executed."
After expecting a rain delay, Wainwright did his preparation and warmup - "kind of a ground routine; it's not gymnastics, it's just stretching" - in the clubhouse instead of on the field.
"My whole normal pregame routine was kind of thrown out the window," he said.
Wainwright (10-3) retired his first 11 batters before David Wright 's single and allowed four hits, struck out six and walked two - including an intentional pass that caused the Mets to pinch hit for Harvey in the seventh. He tied his career best by winning his fifth straight start, dropped his ERA to 2.18 and got his 1,000th strikeout when Wright was called out on a first-inning curveball.
"It wasn't much fun to be an offensive player today," Wright said.
Known best in New York for freezing Carlos Beltran with a called third strike to end Game 7 of the 2006 NL championship series, Wainwright had been 0-4 with an 8.46 ERA in four starts against the Mets since his only career win against them, in St. Louis on April 18, 2010.
"I had everybody in the world tell me I had never beat the Mets at their stadium, so it was something I wanted to do," Wainwright said.
Trevor Rosenthal pitched the eighth, and Edward Mujica allowed a long home run to Marlon Byrd with one out in the ninth. John Buck doubled and took third as Kirk Nieuwenhuis grounded to Carpenter, who made a diving backhand stop as he fell and threw to first for the out.
"When it was hit, I thought he had a good chance of getting a base hit up the middle." Carpenter said.
Josh Satin fouled off two full-count pitches and swung over a splitter as Mujica remained perfect in 19 save chances.
Harvey (5-1) had given up one run and five hits in seven innings with seven strikeouts and a walk, ending a 14-start unbeaten streak dating to Sept. 12 but lowering his ERA to 2.04.
"He's as good as you're going to face in the big leagues," Carpenter said. "He's got electric stuff. `'
Harvey had no-decisions in eight of his previous nine starts, and the Mets have scored just 18 runs while he's been in the game during his last 10 outings, according to STATS.
"If I go seven zeros, we're still playing the ballgame." Harvey said. "It's an incredible lineup. You really have to be locked in one through nine."
St. Louis went ahead in the third when Pete Kozma hit an opposite-field single to right for the first hit of the game and Carpenter tripled past Byrd, who tried for a sprawling catch in right but allowed the ball to bounce past him.
New York's bullpen gave up a run in the eighth, when Carpenter and Beltran singled off Scott Rice , and Matt Holliday and Allen Craig singled against LaTroy Hawkins .
A day of dazzling defense included Craig's diving stop at first base in the eighth to rob Omar Quintanilla of a hit, two nifty pickups by Daniel Descalso on slow rollers to third in the seventh and a pair of challenging catches by center fielder John Jay. He ran to the warning track for Lucas Duda 's two-out drive with a runner on second in the fourth and nabbed a wind-blown drive by Jordany Valdespin leading off the sixth.
"Our guys played a flawless game," Wainwright said.
Next month, Wainwright and Harvey could find themselves in the same clubhouse at Citi Field - on the NL All-Star team.
"That's a long time from now," Wainwright said. "I've got to get a lot of different hitters out before I start worrying about All-Star hitters."
NOTES: St. Louis took two of three in the series and improved the big leagues' best record to 43-23. ... Craig has 49 RBIs. ... Kozma had three of the Cardinals' 10 hits.