Cards offense sputters in loss to White Sox

Cardinals offense sputters in series opening loss to the White Sox.

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Despite the loss, the Cardinals were encouraged by Adam Wainwright's performance on Tuesday.

Wainwright had another strong outing, as he lasted seven innings and allowed two runs and five hits while striking out seven.

But the Cardinals' offense struggled and the Chicago White Sox earned a 6-1 victory.

"Adam definitely deserved better than the result," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. "He was very good tonight and could have left that game in the eighth without any runs pretty easy."

After a 0-3 April, Wainwright (5-7) is throwing like the pitcher who won 39 games in 2009-10 before missing last season following elbow surgery. He had won three of his previous four starts coming into Tuesday's game.

Wainwright said he feels as if he is where he should be at this point in his recovery.

"I feel very comfortable on the mound," Wainwright said. "I feel like my in between start routine is getting comfortable again, my arm slot is finding its groove again, I'm find the right tempo between pitches and during pitches. It's all kind of getting back into the swing of things."

Like most pitchers this season, Wainwright was unable to solve Chicago's Paul Konerko, who had three more hits to raise majors-best average to .373. A.J. Pierzynski and Adam Dunn went homered and Orlando Hudson had a two-run triple for the White Sox. Chicago has won eight straight road games and is a major league-best 17-6 since May 17.

Rookie left-hander Jose Quintana (2-1) allowed one run over 5 1-3 innings to get the win.

Konerko ignited the rally off Wainwright with a leadoff single to start the second inning. He was erased by Alex Rios' fielder's choice, but Pierzynski kept the rally going with a single to center. Hudson then scored Rios and Pierzynski with a two-out triple to right center that glanced off right fielder Carlos Beltran's glove.

"I just didn't quite make the pitches I wanted to to Hudson, and I made a mistake to Konerko," Wainwright said. "Other than that, I was pretty sharp."

The White Sox scored four runs in the eighth off relievers Marc Rzepczynski and Mitchell Boggs. Rzepczynski gave up an RBI single to Gordon Beckham, who was thrown out trying to advance to second, and Dunn's 436-foot shot over the Cardinals' bullpen in right field to make it 4-1. Boggs relieved Rzepczynski and gave up a single to Konerko and a 408-foot line shot into the stands in right by Pierzynski.

"I'm not throwing a crisp breaking ball and every pitch is getting hit hard right now," Rzepczynski said.

The Cardinals are moving in the opposite direction of the White Sox, dropping three of their past four to fall back to .500 (31-31). Matt Holliday went 2 for 4 with a run scored for St. Louis. Allen Craig drove in the Cardinals' run with an RBI single in the sixth.

NOTES: The matchup of Matheny and Ventura marked the first meeting of rookie managers in a Cardinals game since interim manager Mike Jorgensen and first-year San Diego skipper Bruce Bochy squared off in 1995. ... Prior to his triple, Hudson was hitting just .182 (10 for 55) since joining the White Sox on May 22. ... Holliday returned to the lineup after sitting out two games with back spasms. ... Dunn also fanned twice, giving him a major league-leading 98 strikeouts. ... The Cardinals' Rafael Furcal is hitless on the homestand (0 for 15).