The Redbird Report 04/17

Right-hander Adam Wainwright was worthy of his win Wednesday night because he endured 115 pitches through 7 2/3 innings and because he hit his third career home run leading off the second inning to give the Cardinals an early lead.

Albert Pujols usually wins games for the Cardinals with his bat, but he saved Wednesday's one-run win over Milwaukee with his glove.

With right-hander Jason Isringhausen wobbling as he tried to nail down his sixth save, Pujols leaped to his right and backhanded a line drive hit by catcher Jason Kendall for the second out in the ninth inning. If the ball had gone through, the hit would have scored the third run of the inning for the Milwaukee Brewers and tied the game at 5-5.

"Fortunately, it was hit in (Pujols') direction," said manager Tony La Russa. "A foot to the side and the game's tied."

Right-hander Adam Wainwright was worthy of this win because he endured 115 pitches through 7 2/3 innings and because he hit his third career home run leading off the second inning.

Wainwright, the Cardinals' ace, is 2-1. "He was bound and determined to stay out there deep into the game," La Russa said.

While Isringhausen staggered to the save, left-hander Randy Flores performed his own form of rescue in the eighth. Facing dangerous first baseman Prince Fielder, who represented the tying run with two men on base, Flores fanned Fielder for the final out of the inning. Fielder had been 2 for 5 with a home run against Flores in their careers.

CARDINALS 5, BREWERS 4: The Cardinals remained tied with Arizona for the best record in the majors at 11-4 as they won their seventh straight game at home Wednesday following a first-day loss. RF Skip Schumaker, who had struggled in the first 10 days of the season as the leadoff man, scored twice, including hitting his first homer of the season. Besides Schumaker, three other Cardinals had two hits, including winning pitcher Adam Wainwright.


--RHP Adam Wainwright's two hits in three tries gave him a .329 career average (25 for 76). He has hit safely in six of his last eight games dating to last year and is 10 for 18 (.556) in that span.

--1B Albert Pujols doubled in two runs in the first inning, extending his hitting streak to eight games.

--One of the highlights of Wednesday's game was a first-inning walk. CF Rick Ankiel fouled off seven full-count pitches from RHP Carlos Villanueva to make it a 17-pitch at-bat before he walked. The wear and tear on Villanueva seemed evident as the Milwaukee pitcher could make only 4 2/3 innings out of a total of 109 pitches.

--RHP Chris Carpenter, on the mend from shoulder surgery of last year, threw 60 or so pitches. "He continues to improve, and that's a great sign," manager Tony La Russa said. "He's got a lot to do but there's definitely enough time."

Carpenter isn't expected back until mid-July.

--For the second consecutive night -- and perhaps the second time ever -- both teams had their pitchers hitting eighth. "The history escapes me," said La Russa.

--The Cardinals are 10-1 when they score first and have trailed for just 27 innings in their first 15 games.

BY THE NUMBERS: 15 1/3 -- Number of scoreless innings as a Cardinal for RHP Kyle Lohse before he allowed two runs in the fourth inning last Friday against San Francisco.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "People pay attention to the ninth inning and sometimes overlook what goes before." -- RHP Jason Isringhausen, extolling the virtues of such setup men as RHP Ryan Franklin.

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