Adam Wainwright always has considered himself a big-game pitcher. And he might have no bigger game than the one Friday.
Wainwright, who as a closer finished every round of the 2006 postseason when the St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series title, will try to pitch the Cardinals to a Game 5 win in the finale of the National League Division Series against the Washington Nationals. He started Game 1 of this series and dominated with 10 strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings.
The Cardinals were hoping they wouldn't have to use Wainwright on Thursday. But though Kyle Lohse was brilliant in giving up just two hits and one run in seven innings, the Cardinals couldn't nail down the series clincher.
Lance Lynn, who warmed up three times and was appearing for the fourth time in the Cardinals' five postseason games, was solved for a game-winning home run on the 13th pitch he threw to Washington right fielder Jayson Werth in the bottom of the ninth.
"Three-two heater. He beat me," said Lynn. "Everyone in the stadium knew what I was throwing there. Tip your cap to him. The guy can play, and he beat me. It was just a matter of time. I was challenging him, and he was up for it."
Manager Mike Matheny had an opportunity to bring in closer Jason Motte but chose not to do so in a tie game.
"If we were at home, it would have been a very easy decision to bring in Motte," Matheny said. "We are looking at a team that had every save of our season by Jason Motte, and if we take a lead there at any point (in extra innings), you're asking one of our guys, especially one of our young guys who have never been in that situation, to come in and close out a game, and that's a lot to ask.
"We had a lot of confidence in Lance. He came in throwing the ball well. Werth just put together a very good at-bat."