ST. LOUIS — After a pretty remarkable day came to an end for Adam Wainwright, he reflected then decided, yeah, Friday will be remembered as one of his favorites.
“I just think it’s one of the best days I can remember,” the ace said. “Not even baseball-wise. Just days, period.”
Raise a bunch of money for charity? Check.
Throw a complete game to beat your former team? Check.
But there were two other accomplishments Wainwright, while acknowledging, handled delicately. His gem against the Braves not only earned him his 15th win of the season, landing him atop the National League. It provided his 1,090th career strikeout, sending him past teammate Chris Carpenter (1,085), and into second on the Cardinals’ all-time list. And it moved Wainwright past Carpenter in career wins — he now has 95.
“Just to pass Carp is … I don’t even know what to say about that,” Wainwright said. “He’s been my mentor, the guy that’s taught me so much in this game as I’ve been a Cardinal, taught me to be a professional up here. The guy I watched coming up through the system was him. So, I think it just means I’m getting old.”
Wainwright, 31, made it clear he isn’t chasing milestones set by Carpenter, who has been sidelined due to nerve damage in his shoulder. Carpenter, 38, attempted a comeback this year, but was unable to make it through rehab assignments. He is still a presence in the clubhouse, though.
“He went on this last road trip,” Wainwright said. “I got to sit and talk pitching with him. Each time we get to do that, I still learn a lot from him. He knows my game real well.”
That level of respect keeps Wainwright cautious when it comes to talk of how he stacks up against Carpenter, the 2005 Cy Young Award winner and three-time All-Star.
“I’ve got to get some postseason wins like he’s got, then we’ll start talking about comparable careers,” Wainwright said. “He’s been such a horse for so many years that it’s just an honor to be in the same conversation.”
Wainwright might be selling himself a bit short. After all, the same word he used to describe Carpenter was used by Cardinals manager Mike Matheny to describe his performance Friday night.
“He’s our horse,” Matheny said. “He’s the guy that — in a game like this — those are the kind of statements your ace loves to make.”
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