Wainwright pitches two-hit shutout, Cards top Pirates 4-0

MLB

PITTSBURGH (AP)Adam Wainwright extended his dominance of Pittsburgh with a complete game, two-hit shutout and helped himself with a pair of hits as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Pirates 4-0 on Wednesday night.

The 39-year-old Wainwright allowed a pair of singles by Colin Moran in the second and fifth innings, and then retired the last 15 batters.

Wainwright (11-6) needed just 88 pitches to record the 11th shutout of his 16-year career and first since 2016. He struck out seven and did not issue a walk.

”He put on an absolute display of what it takes to be a major league pitcher,” St. Louis manager Mike Shildt said.

Wainwright was happy to finally record a ”Maddux,” which consists of throwing a shutout in under 100 pitches, for the first time. It is named after Hall of Famer Greg Maddux, once teammates with Wainwright in Atlanta and whose brother, Mike, is the Cardinals pitching coach.

”I didn’t look at my pitch count all day,” Wainwright said. ”I knew it was low, but I didn’t want it in my mind. I thought I had a chance at a Maddux, but I didn’t want to think about. I just wanted execute pitches.”

Wainwright worked on his fastball command between starts, and felt it paid off.

”I don’t think there were three pitches where I really even tried to throw the ball hard,” he said. ”It’s funny how when you work on things that it usually tends to work out. I worked on my changeup up a few starts ago and then went out and threw some of my best changeups all season.”

Wainwright’s gem came a night after Cardinals left-hander J.A. Happ and three relievers combined to one-hit the Pirates, who have lost seven straight games and 17 of their last 22.

Center fielder Harrison Bader made two outstanding catches in the late innings to help preserve the shutout, and Wainwright said he would buy his teammate dinner.

”He doesn’t owe me anything,” Bader said with a smile. ”Every time he toes the rubber, it’s an honor to be playing behind him.”

Wainwright won his fourth straight start, and he has been the winning pitcher in each of his last six starts against the Pirates. He has also won eight consecutive decisions versus the Pirates since losing to Pittsburgh on opening day in 2016.

”I don’t think we swung at a ton of bad pitches,” Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton said. ”We just had a ton of soft contact. That’s a credit to him and how he executed.”

Wainwright doubled in the fifth and hit an RBI single an inning later. He came into the game hitting .028 this season, with one hit in 36 at-bats. He raised his lifetime batting average at PNC Park to .372 (16 for 43).

”I’ve been working on my hitting,” Wainwright said.

The Cardinals (57-56) won for the fourth time in five games while moving above .500.

Wil Crowe (3-7) gave up one run and four hits in 4 2/3 innings while striking out four and walking three.

”He executed early on and then in the fifth, he started to drift in the middle of the plate,” Shelton said,

Yadier Molina’s RBI single in the fourth inning opened the scoring. Paul DeJong hit a two-run double to the right-center field gap in the sixth inning, and Wainwright added his run-scoring single to increase the Cardinals’ lead to 4-0.

Molina and DeJong had two hits each, while Paul Goldschmidt singled and drew three walks. DeJong entered the series in a 3-for-29 slump, but also hit a home run Tuesday in the series opener.

MOLINA MOVES UP

Molina moved into fifth place on the MLB career innings caught list with 17,377 2/3, passing Hall of Famer Gary Carter. Next up is Jason Kendall with 17,478 innings.

AT HOME IN PITTSBURGH

St. Louis has won nine games in a row in Pittsburgh and Shildt has a 19-3 career record at PNC Park. The .864 winning percentage in the highest in MLB history for a manager with at least 20 decisions in a ballpark.

LONG TIME AGO

The one-hitter Tuesday night marked the first time the Cardinals held the Pirates to one hit or less in a game in Pittsburgh since Hall of Famer Bob Gibson’s no-hitter in 1971 at Three Rivers Stadium.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cardinals: RHP Miles Mikolas (right forearm tightness) is scheduled to make a fifth and final minor league rehab start Friday, this time for Double-A Springfield. Mikolas has pitched twice each for Triple-A Memphis and Springfield, allowing seven runs combined on 18 1/3 innings. . LF Tyler O’Neill returned to the lineup after sitting out Tuesday following his second COVID-19 vaccination shot.

Pirates: LF Ben Gamel (right hamstring) is progressing well in his rehab and could be activated from the injured list next week. . LHP Sam Howard (right knee tendinitis) threw live batting practice Wednesday for the first time since being placed on the IL on July 13.

UP NEXT

The Cardinals look to sweep the three-game series Thursday afternoon with LHP Wade LeBlanc (0-2, 4.02 ERA) opposing RHP JT Brubaker (4-11, 4.95).

LeBlanc pitched a season-high six innings in a no-decision against Atlanta in his last start. Brubaker is 0-7 with a 6.23 ERA in his past 10 outings since May 29.

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