After a mostly dormant past week offensively, the Chicago Cubs broke out for the majors' highest run total this season.
Chicago (13-24) had lost seven of eight entering Monday's series opener at Busch Stadium, scoring three or fewer runs in six of seven. The Cubs totaled four runs and 19 hits while being swept in a three-game weekend set at Atlanta, then pounded out 20 hits in a 17-5 victory over the Cardinals.
The runs were their most since scoring that many in a win over Pittsburgh on Aug. 14, 2009, and their hits were the club's most since recording 21 in a victory also against the Pirates on Aug. 2, 2011.
Emilio Bonifacio scored five times and was 4 for 5 - tallying one more hit than he had totaled over his previous eight games. Junior Lake drove in six runs with a homer and two doubles, while Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro each had three RBIs.
"He's electric, for sure," starter Travis Wood said of Lake. "When he's on, he's on. He's got tremendous pop and nice to see it come out."
Wainwright (6-2, 2.02 ERA) takes the mound for the Cardinals (19-20) looking to become the National League's first seven-game winner. However, he's had little luck against the Cubs this year, permitting 10 runs over 12 innings in splitting two matchups. Wainwright owns an 0.59 ERA in his six other starts, and the only two homers he's allowed in 58 innings pitched this season were to Lake and Rizzo.
He surrendered six runs and 10 hits over five innings of a 6-5 loss in Chicago on May 2, falling to 4-4 with a 4.91 ERA over his last 12 starts against the Cubs.
"I left a lot of balls in the middle of the plate," Wainwright told the team's website. "I did that last time I pitched against them, too, so I don't think there's a coincidence - or I don't think there's a meaning behind it, it's just a weird coincidence."
The right-hander rebounded for a dominant performance Wednesday, limiting Atlanta to a run and six hits over eight innings in a 7-1 win. He also continues to be successful at the plate, going 8 for 20 for a .400 average that leads all pitchers with at least 10 at-bats.
Chicago counters with Jake Arrieta (0-0, 2.89), who gave up four hits with seven strikeouts over 5 1-3 innings in a 3-0 win over St. Louis in his season debut on May 3. He also won his only other start against the Cardinals, allowing two hits over seven shutout innings on Aug. 16.
The righty had a tougher time in his second outing of the year, yielding four runs and nine hits over four innings in Thursday's 12-5 win over the White Sox.
Jhonny Peralta had a nine-game hitting streak snapped Monday, though he is 4 for 8 off Arrieta.
Yadier Molina was 2 for 3 and owns an OPS of 1.235 with 16 RBIs while collecting at least one hit in 12 of his last 13 games against the Cubs.
Rizzo has nine RBIs over his last five matchups with St. Louis and is 6 for 18 off Wainwright.