Fairfield Ledger
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Neighbors Growing Together | May 22, 2017

Cards blank Cubs

May 15, 2017

ST. LOUIS (Reuters) – It looked more like the old Adam Wainwright on Sunday, not an old Adam Wainwright.

That can only be good news for a St. Louis Cardinals team that seems to be hitting its stride.

Tossing seven shutout innings, Wainwright treated the largest crowd in Busch Stadium III history to a 5-0 win over the slumping Chicago Cubs.

Wainwright (3-3), who failed to make it out of the sixth inning in six of his first seven starts this year, allowed just four hits, walking four and striking out three.

Although Wainwright threw just 56 strikes out of 102 pitches, he mustered enough downward movement on his offerings to attract 13 outs via grounders, including double plays after Chicago put leadoff men aboard in the third and fourth.

"Any time you see nothing but zeros on the board, that's what a pitcher is aiming for," Wainwright said. "It's a good outing to build off, and I can get better. I can have better fastball command, but this is a step in the right direction."

Entering the game with a 6.37 ERA, the 35-year-old Wainwright had permitted an opponents' batting average of .353. But after worming out of a two-on, one-out jam in the first inning by fanning Miguel Montero for the third out, Wainwright allowed only one runner to reach third in his final six innings.

"We let him up in the first inning," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of Wainwright. "That was really the big thing, I think. He kept getting better as the game progressed, I think."

While Wainwright improved, Chicago starter Jake Arrieta (4-3) continued his early-season struggles, losing for just the third time in 11 career decisions against St. Louis. Arrieta entered the day with an ERA of 1.71 against the Cardinals but was victimized by a pair of two-run homers.

Yadier Molina blistered a two-run shot to left, a pitch after Jedd Gyorko led off the second inning with a single. The 410-foot blast left Molina's bat at nearly 106 mph, giving Wainwright all the offense he needed.

An inning later, Matt Carpenter doubled Wainwright's cushion while finally breaking through against his old TCU teammate.

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