Wainwright dazzles with 11 Ks, Cards best Cubs
Chicago, IL – Jon Jay drove in four runs and Adam Wainwright turned in a seven-inning gem to become the National League's second 14-game winner this season, with the pair leading the St. Louis Cardinals to a 6-1 ousting of the Chicago Cubs in the rubber match of a three-game series from Wrigley Field.
Wainwright (14-7) racked up 11 strikeouts while yielding one run on just five hits and a walk to join Washington's Jordan Zimmermann for the NL lead in victories. The St. Louis ace was backed by Jay's two hits, one an RBI single and the other a game-breaking three-run homer in the seventh inning.
Matt Carpenter added a two-run single and Yadier Molina had two doubles and scored twice for the Cardinals, who pulled within a game of first-place Pittsburgh in the NL Central race with the triumph.
Junior Lake had three of Chicago's six hits and knocked in the Cubs' only run with a sixth-inning double. Edwin Jackson (7-13) pitched well in defeat, permitting three runs -- one earned -- despite walking four over six innings.
"This is a tough team and I wanted to keep the game within striking distance," said Jackson. "I challenged them, but there were times when I could have come out and gotten ahead of them in counts early in the game and saved myself some pitches."
Jackson's fate was sealed by his only bad inning of the day, a rough top of the second in which the Cardinals took advantage of a costly error by Lake in center field to jump out to a 3-0 advantage.
After consecutive doubles from Molina and Jay produced the game's first run, Lake dropped a routine fly ball off the bat of Kolten Wong that put runners at second and third with one out. Jackson nearly got out of the jam by getting Wainwright to pop up following an intentional walk to Daniel Descalso that loaded the bases. However, Carpenter came through with a hard single up the middle that plated a pair of runners to extend the lead.
"When you have Waino on the mound, any time you get a chance to score and give him that comfortable lead, we want to do that," Carpenter said. "I was able to get a pitch I could handle, put a good swing on it and hit it up the middle."
Wainwright, meanwhile, was masterful. He allowed a first-inning single to Lake but erased him on a double play, and a base hit to Starlin Castro in the third before setting down the next 11 hitters until issuing a two-out walk to David DeJesus in the sixth.
"I thought that was as good as he's been this season," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of Wainwright. "He came out in the first and established all his pitches and had great life. His curveball was as sharp as we've seen it, and that made a difference."
Lake did atone for his defensive lapse by following DeJesus' walk with a double into the left-center field gap that cut Chicago's deficit to 3-1.
That score didn't last long, however. Cubs reliever Carlos Villanueva walked Allen Craig and surrendered a double to Molina in the seventh before giving way to James Russell, whose third pitch of the game was socked by Jay into the bleachers in left center to give Wainwright plenty of breathing room.
Wainwright gave up back-to-back singles to Nate Schierholtz and Welington Castillo to begin Chicago's half of the seventh, but closed out his superb stint by striking out the next three batters swinging.
Both Russell and Cubs manager Dale Sveum were ejected from the dugout in the bottom of the seventh for arguing a called swing on Donnie Murphy that resulted in a Wainwright strikeout ... Wainwright's 11 K's were one short of a career high, which he matched in a shutout of Milwaukee on April 13 ... The loss was the Cubs' 13th in their last 15 games at Wrigley Field, and they've managed just 12 runs in their last eight contests at home ... Wainwright notched his first win over the Cubs since Sept. 24, 2010 and improved to 6-0 in 11 lifetime starts at Wrigley ... Jackson had won each of his last four starts at home since an 8-4 loss to Arizona on June 2.