Adam Wainwright felt he owed the St. Louis fans an apology after Tuesday night's 7-2 loss to Tampa Bay.
The Cardinals' right-hander, fresh off a start for the National League in the All-Star game, completely fell apart in the fifth inning, allowing five runs on two hits as the Rays broke a 1-1 tie.
"Tonight was unacceptable," he said. "I'll be better next time."
Wainwright walked three, including opposing pitcher Jake Odorizzi, hit a batter and made his first error in 577 innings. Tampa Bay needed just two hits as 10 batters went to the plate.
"I was completely off-kilter and you saw the results," he said. "My delivery fell completely out of whack. I lost my power position. Nothing was coming out like it should."
Wainwright (12-5) was attempting to become the NL's first 13-game winner. He gave up one run and four hits through the first four innings, but never got out of the disastrous fifth.
"We saw some uncharacteristic things, things that aren't typically going to happen to him," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. "He normally gets himself out of those things. He's human, they're going to happen. That inning, he just couldn't get through it."
Wainwright entered the game on a roll. He was 4-1 with a 0.81 ERA over his previous six starts.
But he lasted just 4 2-3 innings, giving up six runs, four earned. He walked four and struck out four in his second-shortest stint of the season.
He believes he has spotted the problem and hopes to work out the difficulties before his next start.
"I'll get back to doing what I do best," he said.
Odorizzi, pitching 33 miles from his hometown of Highland, Illinois, allowed two runs over 5 2-3 innings and Yunel Escobar's double highlighted the fifth inning to lead the Rays to their season-high sixth straight win. They have outscored the opposition 36-11 during the run.
Odorizzi, pitching in St. Louis for the first time in his career, had as many as 500 supporters in the crowd of 43,623. The group made plenty of noise for its hometown hero as he left the game.
"It was pretty loud when I came out," he said. "There were a lot of people standing up. I figured I had to tip my hat to them. I wanted to say thanks to everyone who came out from my town."
Evan Longoria added a solo homer in the ninth for Tampa Bay.
Matt Carpenter and Matt Holliday hit solo home runs for the Cardinals.
But the night belonged to Odorizzi, who gave up five hits, struck out eight and walked three in improving to 4-1 over his last seven starts. He has allowed three earned runs or less in 15 of 20 starts this season. He gave up a leadoff homer to Carpenter on his fifth pitch of the night and then settled down with four successive scoreless innings.
"I was nervous in the first," he said. "But things got better."
The Rays won their seventh straight road game, one shy of tying the franchise record.
Odorizzi outduelled Wainwright in a rematch of a June 10 game that the Cardinals won 1-0.
Maddon was ejected in the third inning by home plate umpire Mark Ripperger. Maddon was arguing a called third strike on Ben Zobrist from the dugout. It was Maddon's fourth ejection of the season and 36th with the Rays.
"It was a misunderstanding," Maddon said. "Their pitcher started yelling at (our) dugout and I'm yelling back at him and the umpire thinks I'm yelling at the umpire and he kicks me out."
Wainwright admitted to barking toward the Rays bench. But he said he was ready to continue pitching and was upset that Maddon continued to command Ripperger's attention.
"It was the first time I ever did that," Wainwright said. "I was ready to pitch and I thought it was time for us to move on and I said so."
NOTES: Carpenter's homer leading off the game was his second of the season and fourth of his career. It broke an 0-for-13 skid. ... Struggling St. Louis OF Allen Craig started consecutive games for the first time since July 5. ...Tampa Bay is making only its second trip to St. Louis. The Cardinals won two of three from the Rays May 16-18, 2008. ... Maddon batted Odorizzi eighth in the batting order to keep OF Kevin Kiermaier in the No. 9 hole. Kiermaier is 12 for 23 in his last eight games. ... Cardinals RHP Lance Lynn (11-6, 3.13) will face RHP Alex Cobb (5-6, 4.08) in the finale of the two-game series Wednesday. ... Odorizzi is second among AL rookies with 124 strikeouts.