Wainwright fanned 12, allowed one run in nine innings and did about as well as possible in the eighth inning, begrudging the Giants just one run when they had the bases loaded and nobody out.
"It's not even a tough call," La Russa said when asked who the star was. "What Adam did was heroic -- against a club that's as hot as they are. He had that jam in the eighth. That game has to get away from us there, but he pulled it out. He was heroic."
Wainwright was allowed to
pitch the ninth, too, and finished with 122 pitches, but La Russa pointed out
that, according to pitching coach Dave Duncan, Wainwright throws the fewest
pitches among the starters in warming up for a game. Wainwright also will have
an extra day off before his next start, Wednesday in
"You factor in a lot of stuff," La Russa said. "And I asked him (if he could continue). I looked him in the eye.
"He's very special."
Wainwright, still 8-5, said he had told himself repeatedly during the evening, "This is your game. You're going to finish it.
"I didn't finish it, but I went as far as I could."
Rasmus, who had missed two starts with stomach problems, caught a break leading off the 10th against Bob Howry after Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval dropped a pop foul on a 2-2 pitch. He homered on a full count.
"I wanted to stick with my game plan," Rasmus said, "and not swing at the split-finger in the dirt."
The home run was Rasmus' first walk-off drive since he was in Class AA.
"I don't think it really gets much better than that," he said.
CARDINALS 2, GIANTS 1 (10 innings): The Cardinals won for just the second time in their last eight games, as CF Colby Rasmus delivered his first game-ending homer in the major leagues.
"We needed a win," said manager Tony La Russa, whose team had lost three in a row and six out of seven. "Sometimes when you haven't been winning, it's hard to win a game."