Wainwright goes for third straight win
St. Louis (34-24) vs. Pittsburgh (26-30), Monday, 7:15 p.m. CT
ST. LOUIS -- Adam Wainwright is mowing down hitters better than the average person cuts the grass.
Coming off his second consecutive win, Wainwright will try to do something he has only achieved once in the Majors -- win a third straight game.
But it will have to come against Pittsburgh, a team that has hit him well in the past. Though his 3-1 record against the Pirates suggests otherwise, several current members of the Pirates have hit better than .300 against Wainwright, with Jack Wilson and Xavier Nady teeing off vs. the Cardinals ace at a better than .400 clip.
The last time Wainwright faced Pittsburgh, in his last start of 2007, he went seven innings and gave up three runs to win his 14th game of the year.
Now, the Pirates will be running right into a freight train. Take away two outings he considers aberrations and Wainwright has morphed into one of the better pitchers in the game. Over the past year, he is second only to Brandon Webb in ERA among pitchers who have thrown at least 150 innings.
Last time out he had arguably one of his better outings of the year, if not of his career. Wainwright threw eight innings of three-hit ball against Houston on May 28 with a career-high eight strikeouts.
Is it easy to get complacent following a great outing?
"Not based on last starts, just on how long the year is," Wainwright said. "You have to stay mentally sharp the entire year because it's a grind."Pitching matchup
STL: RHP Adam Wainwright (5-2, 2.86 ERA)
Wainwright throws his second consecutive start at home, a place he has relished pitching this year. In six home starts, the Cardinals' ace has won four. PIT: LHP Tom Gorzelanny (4-5, 7.38 ERA)
Gorzelanny lasted a career-low two-thirds of an inning his last time out, leaving the lefty wondering what it's going to take for his command to return. He has lacked consistency from one start to the next all season, and his walk total has escalated to 37 in 46 1/3 innings. The key for Gorzelanny is easy -- getting ahead of hitters with some consistency. He fell behind seven of the eight hitters he faced in his most recent start. Gorzelanny lost a decision to the Cardinals earlier this season when he gave up a career-high seven walks and three runs in five innings. The lefty is 1-1 with a 1.98 ERA in two career starts at Busch Stadium. Tidbits
Braden Looper has quietly become one of the better-hitting pitchers on the Cardinals. After Sunday's 2-for-2 performance, Looper is now hitting .429 on the year with three RBIs. ... Cesar Izturis singled in the eighth Sunday to extend his hitting streak to 10 games. ... Rick Ankiel's success in the outfield has not translated to success at the plate. On the homestand, Ankiel is only 2-for-20 and has not hit a home run since May 21. Tickets
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Tuesday: Cardinals (Kyle Lohse, 5-2, 4.02) at Nationals (Odalis Perez, 2-4, 4.14), 6:10 p.m. CT
Wednesday: Cardinals (Todd Wellemeyer, 6-1, 3.16) at Nationals (John Lannan, 4-5, 3.52), 6:10 p.m. CT
Thursday: Cardinals (TBD) at Nationals (TBD), 6:10 p.m. CT
Lee Hurwitz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.