Cardinals' Wainwright goes distance for his 11th win

The SportsXchange

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The way St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright pitched Saturday against the Oakland Athletics, two runs would have been enough to give him his 11th victory of the season.

Matt Adams drove in four runs with two swings of the bat, slugging a three-run homer in the fourth inning off lefty Jerry Blevins and a solo shot in the eighth off right-hander Pat Neshek in the Cardinals' 7-1 rout of the A's.

Wainwright snapped a two-game losing streak and improved to 11-5 while pitching his fourth complete game of the season and the 15th of his career. He's tied with Washington's Jordan Zimmermann for the most wins in the National League. Wainwright allowed one run on five hits and walked just two while striking out eight.

"I think every starter's goal is ... to throw the last pitch of the game, too," Wainwright said. "Luckily I was able to get ahead early, get some quick innings and kept my count down on a team that traditionally (tries) to get that pitch count up early and get in that bullpen. I wanted to come out and attack them early on, throw good quality pitches in the zone and make them put it in play, use my defense."

Wainwright came into the game off a tough and emotional loss to the Rangers in his previous start. He allowed just one run over 6 2/3 innings but was pulled by manager Mike Matheny in a double-switch with two outs in the seventh. After that loss to Texas, Wainwright reacted angrily when told Matheny said he took him out because he had been "laboring." A few days later, after cooling down, Wainwright apologized for his outburst.

Against the A's, Wainwright cruised until the eighth when he gave up a run but escaped that jam without further damage, stranding two runners.

"Once he got out of that, we've got to give him a chance to go back out there," Matheny said. "I know he takes a lot of pride in being able to come in and giving the bullpen a day (off). It means a lot to him to go out there and a lot to us to watch him throw a complete game."

Matheny said he might have pulled Wainwright if one more batter had reached base in the eighth.

"He was laboring from the first, and you can tell him I said that," Matheny joked.

"I was laboring," Wainwright agreed, smiling. "I was. That just means working, right? I was working."

Adams had his power game working. He had the first multi-home run game of his career and has hit six home runs this season. He helped the Cardinals snap a two-game losing streak, win for only the second time in their last seven games and even their three-game series with the A's at 1-1.

"I was just seeing the ball good today," Adams said.

A's right-hander Jarrod Parker was working on a shutout through 3 2/3 innings when he injured his right hamstring, ending his day. After delivering a pitch that Allen Craig launched for a double, Parker grabbed his hamstring and fell to the ground in pain.

Parker threw a few warmup pitches, but then limped off the field and headed to the clubhouse with what the A's called right hamstring tightness.

"He wanted to try to finish the inning, but he still felt it," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "It's not a prudent thing to do. The unfortunate thing was that might have been as good of stuff as he's had all year. We might have been here a while had that not happened. ... We'll see tomorrow how he's feeling and then if everything feels OK tomorrow, see how he feels in his bullpen and then proceed from there."

Parker said he his hamstring "got tight" on his final pitch of the day.

"It happened so fast I can't really tell you what happened," Parker said. "It's something we'll figure out in the next few days."

The Cardinals scored twice off reliever Jesse Chavez in the top of the fifth, taking a 2-0 lead. In the sixth, St. Louis struck for four more runs.

Leading off, Carlos Beltran doubled off Chavez and moved to third on Craig's single. Blevins came on to face Holliday, who singled sharply to center, bringing Beltran home. Adams drove Blevins' next pitch into the right field seats for a three-run home run. It was Adams' first home off a left-hander in the major leagues.

"It's just a matter of picking the ball up earlier and making sure my front foot gets down early so I can see the ball and recognize the pitch," Adams said.

NOTES: A's C John Jaso (left palm abrasion) was out of the starting lineup for the seventh straight game. "It is getting better," Melvin said. "(Friday) was a big improvement day for him." He was available off the bench but didn't get in the game. ... C Derek Norris made his first start and first appearance since June 23 at Seattle and went 2-for-3.
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