Adam Wainwright missed his opportunity to take sole possession of the NL wins lead before the break, but a home start against the San Diego Padres might help him accomplish that feat.
Wainwright will try to continue his dominance of the Padres and lead the Cardinals to their ninth victory in 12 games Sunday.
After tying Washington’s Jordan Zimmermann for the NL lead July 9, Wainwright (12-5, 2.45 ERA) gave up four runs over six innings last Sunday against the Chicago Cubs and left before the Cardinals rallied for a 10-6 victory.
With Zimmermann also starting Sunday, Wainwright will try at least to remain tied atop the league’s wins list with another stellar outing against the Padres. He tried to stay fresh during the break by not pitching in the All-Star game and doing very little throwing over the four days.
“I think that will benefit me more than any amount of bullpen sessions or throwing can do right now,” Wainwright told the team’s website.
Wainwright is 3-0 with a 0.38 ERA in three career home starts versus San Diego and 4-2 with a 1.02 ERA in six overall. The right-hander gave up one run over 7 1/3 innings in his lone matchup this season, a 10-2 rout at Petco Park on May 21.
He tossed a four-hitter with nine strikeouts in his last home meeting with the Padres, a 4-0 victory May 22, 2012.
In this one, Wainwright will pitch opposite Eric Stults (8-7, 3.40), who will seek his third win in as many starts. The left-hander has a 1.20 ERA in his past two outings and gave up one run over six innings in a 10-1 drubbing of San Francisco last Sunday.
“Offensively, it was just a great game for us. Just to get that cushion definitely helped me,” Stults told the team’s website after receiving a combined eight runs in his previous six outings.
Stults won his only start against the Cardinals on Sept. 10, allowing three runs in 5 1/3 innings of an 11-3 victory.
He’ll try to help San Diego build off the end to a 10-game road losing streak and its third victory in 18 overall contests. The Padres (43-55) scored a combined four runs in the first three innings en route to a 5-3 win Saturday, snapping a five-game skid in St. Louis.
The Cardinals (58-37) had four hits after producing a combined 47 in their prior three games.
“We have a really good offense and sometimes it’s just not going to happen for you,” said first baseman Allen Craig, who hit a two-run single and now has 76 RBIs.
St. Louis placed outfielder Matt Holliday on the disabled list (strained right hamstring) before Saturday’s defeat, but the move is retroactive to July 12. The Cardinals might miss Holliday in this game as he’s been one of the team’s best hitters against Stults, going 3 for 8 with a solo homer and a double.