Winning his third straight with a disarming curveball and sharp cut fastball, Wainwright (9-7) gave up just one earned run in seven innings to Atlanta. Over those three games he has allowed only three earned runs in 21 innings. "There was a lot of bragging rights on the line today with some of those (Braves) guys over there," said Wainwright, who roomed with Atlanta second baseman Kelly Johnson for four years in the minors.
"It was important to win the game, but it was important for bragging rights, too. Those are some of my closest friends in the world."
Atlanta probably shouldn't have scored any runs against Wainwright, who was victimized by two wild pitches, including one on a strikeout, and a passed ball by catcher Yadier Molina, that led to a first-inning run.
"He carried his stuff right to the end," said manager Tony La Russa. "He could have pitched the eighth if we wanted him to."
The Cardinals' offense consisted largely of first baseman Albert Pujols, who smashed a mammoth home run in the fourth inning and then doubled to lead off a two-run eighth inning.
Right fielder Juan Encarnacion drove in two of the four runs with a single in the eighth and a sacrifice fly in the ninth.
The Cardinals evened their record at 4-4 on a 10-game trip with two games remaining.
CARDINALS 4, ATLANTA 2: RHP Adam Wainwright, drafted by Atlanta and then dealt to the Cardinals in the J.D. Drew deal, made his first start against his former team and held the Braves to one run in seven innings. The Cardinals' two-pronged, late-inning right-handed relief tandem of Ryan Franklin and Jason Isringhausen nailed down the win over the Braves, working the final two innings, although Isringhausen allowed a run in the ninth.
NOTES AND QUOTES
--CF Jim Edmonds, in his second game back after spending more than a month on the disabled list (pinched nerve in lower back), made a good, running catch to take a hit away and also singled to help set up a run in the ninth.
--C Yadier Molina, who had occasional trouble receiving the ball because of the big video board in center field at Turner Field, had a passed ball and three wild pitches get away from but he threw out his 11th would be base stealer in 21 tries. And he also singled to end a nothing-for-10 dry spell.
--1B Albert Pujols hit his fifth homer in eight games on the trip. He had gone 77 at-bats without one before he began his home-run spree.
--RHP Jason Isringhausen gained his 19th save in 21 tries and RHP Ryan Franklin gained his 18th hold.
--LHP Mark Mulder, recovering from shoulder surgery from last September, threw 70 pitches, including breaking balls for the first time, in a bullpen session. He may be only a week or so away from beginning a rehabilitation assignment.