In his previous two starts for the Cardinals, Adam Wainwright had to make a total of three runs stand up as he posted 1-0 and 2-1 victories. But Wainwright's major-league-leading 17th win Friday night came in quite a different manner.
Wainwright did not pitch six innings for the first time in his last 27 starts. He allowed more than two runs in a game for the first time in his last 13 starts. And he blew a 5-0 lead when the Pittsburgh Pirates dropped a six-run bomb on him in the fifth inning.
"It looked like he ran out of gas," said Cardinals manager Tony La Russa.
But Albert Pujols cracked a three-run homer in the sixth inning when Wainwright still was the pitcher of record and Ryan Ludwick finished off the comeback with a three-run homer in the eighth as he had the best night of his career. He had a career-high five hits and a career-high-tying five runs batted in and two home runs.
Ludwick also had two doubles and a single. "That's the kind (of game) you have in Little League," said La Russa. "You don't have those in the major leagues."
The Cardinals extended their lead in the National League Central Division to a season-high 11-1/2 games and lowered their magic number against the Chicago Cubs for clinching the division to 17. Since Aug. 7, when they took a one-game lead in the division by beating the Pirates in Pittsburgh, the Cardinals have not lost so much as a half game in the standings to the Cubs in any day on the schedule.
RF Ryan Ludwick,
who had two homers, two doubles and a single to raise his average to .276, is
dressing again in the visiting clubhouse where his number, 47, suggests, between
pitchers Trever Miller (No. 43) and Kyle McClellan (46). The Pirates' clubhouse
man had Ludwick dressing with the position players on the other side of the room
when the Cardinals were in
RHP Chris Carpenter, who has a 10-game winning streak, was honored for winning half of those in August when he was named the National League Pitcher of the Month. Carpenter (15-3) hasn't lost since June 30.
By The Numbers:
10—Consecutive non-losing (9-0-1) series for the Cardinals through Aug. 30.
Quote To Note:
"When you only get one at-bat, it's a tough assignment."
—INF Khalil Greene, after tying a game the Cardinals later won with his first pinch-hit homer. Greene, disabled twice with anxiety issues, has lost his SS job to Brendan Ryan but has contributed off the bench.
Wainwright hadn't given up two runs in the same inning since Aug. 19 in
C Yadier Molina stole his eighth base in the third inning. In his first five seasons, he stole a total of four.
RHP Todd Wellemeyer, who has had an inflamed right elbow, made his first appearance in a month and, despite walking two hitters in the ninth, finally got the side out.
RHP Kyle Lohse, who has been out with a strained left hamstring, will be activated from the disabled list Sunday. He will come back in the bullpen, but that probably is temporary. Lohse is expected to rejoin the rotation in the next 10 days or so.
RHP Todd Wellemeyer (right elbow inflammation) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Aug. 5. He threw a bullpen session Aug. 25, and he was activated Sept. 3.
LHP Kyle Lohse (strained groin) went on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 22. He threw a bullpen session Aug. 27, and he is expected to be activated Sept. 6.