ST. LOUIS – Adam Wainwright had been pretty good against his former team, winning all six of his previous career starts when facing the Atlanta Braves.
That all changed Saturday night as the St. Louis Cardinals right-hander got roughed up.
In what has been a season of firsts for Wainwright as he tries to bounce back from Tommy John surgery, he could not even last long enough to qualify for a win as he allowed nine hits and five walks in just 4 1/3 innings of a 7-2 loss.
Many of those hits were not scorched, but the Braves were able to pad their stats against Wainwright (2-4).
"I really didn't have, I don't feel like, a whole lot of balls that were blistered," said Wainwright, who struck out five. "But when you start out behind in the count, balls find holes. There were quite a few balls they hit tonight if I'm controlling the count they're probably outs."
Wainwright, who threw 108 pitches overall, fell behind plenty. He tossed 30 pitches before recording an out. That came when he struck out the game's sixth hitter, Chipper Jones, on his 31st pitch.
Before getting Jones, Wainwright allowed singles to Michael Bourn and Martin Prado and a walk to Freddie Freeman to load the bases. Walks to Dan Uggla and Brian McCann forced in runs, but Wainwright was able to escape the inning without any further damage.
"Early on, I think my front side was leaking out," Wainwright said. "I was able to make the adjustment later on in the inning. You've got to attack more on that. This is a team when you're playing against them you have to control of the counts. You need to be in pitcher's counts, not hitter's counts."
After McCann doubled home a run in the third, Atlanta put Wainwright out of his misery in the fifth. The Braves loaded the bases with no outs on singles by Uggla and McCann and a walk to Jones. Wainwright struck out Jason Heyward, but Tyler Pastornicky and pitcher Brandon Beachy followed with run-scoring singles to make it 5-0 and chase Wainwright.
After going 0-3 for the first time in his career, Wainwright appeared to have righted the ship with two straight wins. Saturday's effort was a setback for Wainwright, who is trying to find the stuff that allowed him to win 39 games in 2009-10 before undergoing elbow surgery.
"It's just going to be one of those deals," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. "He's just going to have to fight every night he gets the ball."
Despite getting roughed up, Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said Wainwright never quit pitching.
"It's the first time I've seen him pitch in over two years, and it's going to take a little while," Gonzalez said. "The one thing that you saw, he competed. He never stopped competing and that's his trait. He's not going to stop competing until they come and get him."
On the other side, Gonzalez had very few issues with Beachy. He pitched six innings of one-run ball and helped himself with an RBI single.
Beachy (4-1) allowed only two singles and lowered his ERA to 1.60, fifth best in the NL. He struck out six and walked four.
Bourn went 3 for 6, including a solo homer, with two RBIs and two runs scored. The homer was his first since Aug. 19, 2011, against Arizona.
Uggla was on base four times with two hits and two walks for the Braves. He scored twice and drove in a run. McCann also had two hits, two RBIs and a run scored for the Braves, who are 21-9 in their last 30 games.
Furcal had two hits for the Cardinals, including an RBI single, to extend his hitting streak to 11 games.
Allen Craig ended Beachy's shutout with a sacrifice fly in the sixth, but Bourn gave the Braves their five-run lead back with a leadoff homer off Cards reliever J.C. Romero in the eighth.
Notes: Cardinals 2B Tyler Greene is in an 0-for-15 tailspin after going hitless in three at-bats. ... After not winning in St. Louis since Sept. 13, 2009 (seven games), the Braves have won two in a row at Busch Stadium and look for the sweep behind Tommy Hanson (3-3) Sunday. ... The Cardinals' Carlos Beltran had his six-game hitting streak snapped. Beltran was 11 for 26 (.420) with five home runs in that stretch.