video thumbnail

PIT@STL: Wainwright fans seven over eight scoreless

In a career that includes numerous All-Star Games and World Series appearances, one of Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright's favorite memories came in a regular-season game on July 4, 2006, at Turner Field in Atlanta.

Wainwright, who grew up in Brunswick, Ga., struck out former Braves center fielder Andruw Jones in the sixth inning of a 6-3 St. Louis victory. Wainwright smiled as he recalled, "My friends at home thought that was like one of the coolest things ever."

"I'm telling you, I was the No. 1 Braves fan in the state of Georgia," Wainwright said. "There's no doubt about that in mind for many, many years."

Wainwright nearly achieved his dream of playing for Atlanta as the Braves drafted him in the first round of the 2000 First-Year Player Draft. However, the Cardinals traded for the right-hander on Dec. 13, 2003, and the rest is history.

More than 10 years later, Wainwright still gets a rush from pitching in the park where he owns a 2.70 ERA in five career outings. He will face Mike Minor in Wednesday night's rubber game of a three-game series between the Braves and the Cardinals.

"Coming here and pitching in this park is a neat experience," Wainwright said.

Cousins, friends and Wainwright's brother will watch the right-hander attempt to rebound from a tough outing at Wrigley Field on Friday. He gave up six earned runs, adding nearly a full run to the 1.20 ERA he compiled in six April starts.

Despite the rough go of it in Chicago, Wainwright is not too concerned. Aiming to become the first pitcher in the Majors to earn his sixth win this season, he said his delivery "feels good," and his pitches "are back and moving."

Minor hopes to pitch deep into his next start after an Atlanta rally in his season debut on Friday resulted in his exit for a pinch-hitter after only 80 pitches in six innings. Still, Minor has thrown six or more innings in eight straight starts, and 34 of his past 36.

"It was one of those situations where we had to pinch-hit right there, but I wanted to go back out," Minor said. "But when you've got guys on base and we're down, you've got to pinch-hit right there."

Braves: J-Up snaps out of funk
• Justin Upton entered Tuesday night batting .067 (1-for-15) with 11 strikeouts in the first four games of Atlanta's homestand. He heads into Wednesday after hitting his ninth home run and getting his first multi-hit game since April 27 in Atlanta's 2-1 win.

Before the game, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez summed up Upton's struggles with strikeouts, since he had been caught looking six times in 11 strikeouts during the homestand, including twice to end games, entering Tuesday.

"Sometimes you get locked up," Gonzalez said.

Following the game, Chris Johnson had nothing but admiration for his longtime teammate's fourth-inning homer.

"[Upton] crushed that ball," Johnson said. "Good to let Gavin [Floyd] get a little breather, get a lead and kind of work his way through the game."

• B.J. Upton has reached base safely in 22 of his past 23 games with a plate appearance. On May 5, the only game during that stretch he did not reach base, Upton knocked in the Braves' lone run with a sacrifice fly.

Cardinals: Bourjos gets day off to keep Jay involved
• Peter Bourjos will likely return to the St. Louis lineup on Wednesday against the lefty Minor after Jon Jay got the nod in center field on Tuesday. Even though Bourjos went 2-for-4 in Monday's victory, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny wants to keep Jay involved.

"We've had different guys out there," Matheny said. "That's not necessarily our goal. That's not how we want to do it. We'd love to have a lineup that we write in and 162 games later, we're right where we want to be. But we've been struggling to figure it out. You see a good night last night from Peter Bourjos, and he's most likely going to get another shot tomorrow night against the lefties. We have to find a way to get Jon Jay locked in. Our team is better when everybody is clicking. We have to get them going. We have to give them a chance."

Worth noting
• Johnson is batting .333 (6-for-18) with a triple, an RBI and seven strikeouts against Wainwright. Meanwhile, Justin Upton is hitless in 13 at-bats with four strikeouts against the Cardinals right-hander.

• Matt Holliday is batting .333 (3-for-9) with a double, a homer and four RBIs against Minor. Yadier Molina is batting .200 (2-for-10) with a solo shot against the left-hander. Both runs Minor gave up on Friday came on solo homers.

MLB.com Comments