The St. Louis Cardinals' Adam Wainwright has earned his fair share of wins this season, but he hasn't tasted victory in almost a month.
It's been quite a bit longer since he's gotten the best of the Chicago Cubs .
Looking to stay unbeaten at Wrigley Field, Wainwright tries to defeat the Cubs for the first time in almost three years in Sunday's series finale.
While Wainwright (13-7, 2.71 ERA) beat San Diego 3-2 on July 21 to become the first NL pitcher to 13 wins, he has gone 0-2 with a 4.18 ERA in four starts since. The All-Star right-hander allowed three runs and five hits - including two homers - in seven innings Tuesday in a 4-3, 14-inning win over Pittsburgh.
Wainwright, who was pitching on three extra days of rest, set season highs with three walks and 122 pitches. Manager Mike Matheny called it the "gutsiest performance we've had all year."
Wainwright now turns his attention to the Cubs (53-69), who have given him trouble the last few years. Since beating Chicago 7-1 on Sept. 24, 2010, Wainwright has gone 0-2 with a 5.91 ERA during a six-start stretch in the series. He is 5-0 in 10 career starts at Wrigley despite a 4.04 ERA.
Loser in five of six overall, Chicago dropped to 2-12 in its last 14 home games after going 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position. Starlin Castro was removed after making a costly mental error in the fifth inning.
Castro caught a popup in shallow left field with one out and the bases loaded, but allowed Jon Jay to score from third after putting his head down and hesitating to throw home.
"He's played in the big leagues long enough and we've had our discussions," manager Dale Sveum said of the 23-year-old shortstop. "There comes a point where you have to cross that bridge and get to the next level. He feels as bad as anybody, he knows what happened and he feels awful right now."
Besides Saturday's defensive blunder, Castro is hitless in his last 16 at-bats and hitting .244 on the season - more than 40 points lower than his .285 career mark.
"It's bad. It's an unbelievable year," he said. "I've never had a year like that. I feel really bad, especially with the mistake today and my struggling at home plate. But I don't put my head down. I know I can be good and finish strong."
The Cubs will try to bounce back behind Edwin Jackson (7-12, 5.05), who takes the mound for the first time since allowing four runs, six hits and three walks over five innings in an 8-4 loss at St. Louis last Sunday.
Jackson, who won a World Series ring with the Cardinals in 2011, is 2-4 with a 4.68 ERA in 10 starts - including playoffs - against his former team. Both those wins, though, have come at what was his home ballpark, including a 3-0 victory at Wrigley on July 11.
After going 0-5 with a 7.83 ERA in his first six home starts, Jackson has allowed three runs in 27 2-3 innings during a four-start winning streak on the North Side.
Molina is 9 for 18 with three homers off Jackson, and Allen Craig is 6 for 13.
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|August 15, 2013||Tony Cruz||15-Day DL||Stress fracture, left forearm|
|August 11, 2013||Carlos Beltran||Day-to-Day||Right foot contusion|
|August 07, 2013||Shelby Miller||Day-to-Day||Right elbow contusion|
|July 31, 2013||Shane Robinson||15-Day DL||Strained right shoulder|
|July 31, 2013||Yadier Molina||15-Day DL||Sprained right knee|
|July 31, 2013||Yadier Molina||15-Day DL||Sprained right knee|
|August 08, 2013||Matt Guerrier||60-Day DL||Right elbow soreness|
|August 08, 2013||Thomas Neal||60-Day DL||Dislocated right shoulder|
|August 07, 2013||Thomas Neal||Day-to-Day||Dislocated right shoulder|
|August 07, 2013||Dioner Navarro||Day-to-Day||Right ankle contusion|
|August 03, 2013||Luis Valbuena||15-Day DL||Right oblique strain|
|July 15, 2013||Brian Bogusevic||15-Day DL||Left hamstring strain|
CHICAGO (AP) -- Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright was back in charge Sunday.
Wainwright struck out 11 and allowed one run through seven innings, and Jon Jay drove in four runs with a homer and double to lead St. Louis to a 6-1 win over the Chicago Cubs .
Matt Carpenter singled in two runs in the third to help back Wainwright (14-7), who allowed just five hits and one walk after going 0-2 in his previous four starts.
"It's as good as he's been all season," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "He came out in the first and established all his pitches, had great life.
"His curveball was as sharp as we've seen it. That made the difference, it set the tone."
Wainwright hadn't won since July 21 at home against San Diego and had allowed 14 runs in 28 innings during the span.
On Sunday, he faced only one batter over the minimum through the first five innings and only 26 through seven innings. He also beat the Cubs for the first time since April 13, 2012, a span of six starts.
"I just went out there in attack mode," Wainwright said, "went out there with the right philosophy in understanding of who I was as a pitcher and just made pitches.
"I wanted to let everybody on the field know that I was in charge out there, so to speak. It's a team over there that's given me trouble over the last few years."
St. Louis relievers Kevin Siegrist and Trevor Rosenthal combined to pitch a scoreless eighth and ninth.
One of Wainwright's strikeouts led to Cubs manager Dale Sveum and reliever James Russell being ejected from the game in the bottom of the seventh.
St. Louis was already ahead 6-1 following Jay's three-run homer off Russell in the top of the inning.
Wainwright allowed singles to Nate Schierholtz and Welington Castillo to open the bottom half, but the next batter, Donnie Murphy , was called out on a check swing.
Sveum disputed the call with plate umpire Phil Cuzzi from the dugout, then came onto the field to continue the argument following the ejection. Russell was tossed by third base umpire Tom Hallion.
"That's easily the worst checked-swing call I've ever seen. Sveum said. That's why the other umpires are there, to give him help."
Junior Lake drove in the Cubs' run with a double in the sixth.
Chicago starter Edwin Jackson (7-13) allowed three runs, but only one earned, through six innings. He walked four and struck out three.
Jackson has been stronger in the second half after an 1-8 start. He got little support on Sunday and his defense didn't help when Lake dropped a fly ball in center field for an error in the Cardinals' three-run second inning.
"In pitching, things are going to happen," Jackson said. "It was one of those things you try to battle down and do damage control.
"It definitely could have been a lot worse. You just try to keep them within striking distance."
The Cubs have scored just 12 runs in their past eight games at Wrigley Field and have been shut out in five of those contests.
St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina had two doubles in his third game back after two weeks on the disabled list.
Starlin Castro was back in the Cubs lineup a day after being pulled for making a mistake the day before, and had an infield single. Manager Dale Sveum said Castro had atoned for his mistake.
On Saturday, the shortstop dawdled after catching a popup in shallow left field, allowing a run to score and Sveum pulled Castro from the game.
Carpenter's single with two outs and the bases loaded drove in two runs as the Cardinals jumped ahead 3-0 in the second.
With one out, Molina and Jay bounced back-to-back doubles just inside third base to make it 1-0.
Rookie Kolten Wong 's deep fly ticked off Lake's glove for an error, putting Wong on second and Jay on third. Following an intentional walk to Daniel Descalso and fly out by Wainwright, Carpenter's hit up the middle drove in Jay and Wong.
The Cubs cut it to 3-1 in the sixth. David Dejesus, who had walked with two outs, scored on Lake's double to the gap.
Jay's three-run homer in the seventh off Russell, the second of four Chicago relievers, put the game away.
NOTES: Wainwright had a season-high 12 strikeouts on April 13 against Milwaukee. . The 23-year-old Castro, one of the Cubs' most touted young players, has struggled much of this season. He entered Sunday hitting .244 with seven homers and 32 RBIs, and was 0 for 16 in his past five games. But Sveum was willing to give him another chance. "I don't think this kid can get better by not playing today and understanding the adversity that we all go through in a game," Sveum said before the same. ... Descalso, a left-handed batter, started at shortstop for St. Louis on Sunday against Jackson, a right-hander. He replaced right-handed hitting, Pete Kozma who played Saturday. Manager Mike Matheny stopped short of saying the two would platoon the rest of the season. "I am still comfortable with (Kozma's defense), but I think we've all been becoming more comfortable with the innings (Descalso) has been playing as well, and how he's swinging the bat at times. I think you're going to see both of them." Kozma, was hitting .223 entering the game and Descalso was at .254. ... Wong, one of the Cardinals' top prospects, started at second on Sunday and appeared in each game of the series after making his major league debut on Friday.