The Commercial Appeal
Cards’ Wainwright shuts down A’s for 11th win
Rookie Adams hits two home runs
CARDINALS 7, ATHLETICS 1
OAKLAND, Calif. — This time, Adam Wainwright left little doubt that he should keep pitching.
St. Louis manager Mike Matheny kept him in, even when things became a bit dicey in the eighth.
Wainwright pitched a five-hitter to become the NL’s second 11game winner, Matt Adams had his first two-homer game, and the Cardinals beat the Oakland Athletics 7-1 on Saturday.
Wainwright (11-5) tied Washington’s Jordan Zimmerman for most wins in the NL. He struck out eight and walked two in his fourth complete game this year and the 15th of his career.
“I came out very focused and executed my plan for the most part,” he said. “I had the two late walks that kind of chapped me. Any time you’re going late in the game like that giving yourself a chance to win, your team a chance to win, that’s what you want. Every starter’s goal is when you start the game to throw the last pitch of the game, too.”
Wainwright appeared to have no issues Saturday after objecting to Matheny’s decision to pull him after 6 innings in a loss to Texas last Sunday. When Wainwright got into an eighth-inning jam Saturday and gave up Josh Reddick’s RBI single, Matheny stuck with him.
“He was laboring from the first, and you can tell him I said that,” Matheny joked Saturday, repeating his words from last week that fired up the pitcher.
To which Wainwright said: “Yeah, I was laboring. Laboring means working, right? I was working.”
With his signature, moving curveball, Wainwright kept the A’s off-balance all day.
“He had everything,” Matheny said. “Mainly, he was very good at locating the fastball and using the curveball in different ways, different speeds, different breaks and making big pitches when he needed to.”
What appeared to be a pitcher’s duel in the making changed quickly when A’s starter Jarrod Parker left in the fourth inning with tightness in his right ham- string. He’ll be re- evaluated Sunday.
“He wanted to try to finish the inning, but he still felt it,” manager Bob Melvin said. “It’s not a prudent thing to do. The unfortunate thing was that might have been as good as stuff as he’s had all year. Had a great change-up, had great velocity on the fastball, good movement, good slider. We might have been here a while had that not happened.” Jesse Chavez relieved Parker. Adams hit a three-run homer to highlight a four-run sixth and a solo shot in the eighth.
“I just use my size and leverage,” said Adams, a rookie who is 6-3 and 260 pounds. “I don’t swing too hard. I get in trouble if I overswing.”
Daniel Descalso broke a scoreless tie with a sacrifice fly in the fifth, and the Cardinals gave Wainwright plenty of support to take the team lead in wins ahead of Lance Lynn’s 10.
After a 1-2-3 first inning on nine pitches, Wainwright was on his way. A’s No. 9 hitter Derek Norris singled with two outs in the third for the first hit off Wainwright, who snapped a two-start skid.
Wainwright got through the seventh on seven pitches. He had a career-high five complete games in 2010, and is now one away from that.
A sold-out Coliseum crowd of 35,067 braved hot temperatures to watch Wainwright keep the A’s batters off balance — they didn’t get a three-ball count until Coco Crisp walked in the eighth as the 28th hitter of the game. Wainwright threw 21 pitches that inning.
Chavez (1-2), who pitched 5 scoreless innings of relief for victory in an 18-inning win against the Yankees on June 13, was done after 1¥ innings Saturday. Carlos Beltran doubled starting the sixth, and Allen Craig followed with a single to chase Chavez.
Jerry Blevins allowed an RBI single to Matt Holliday, then Adams’ first-pitch homer that broke open the game.