Cardinals can’t fight past a rare off night from Wainwright

Adam Wainwright wasn't his usual self on the mound Tuesday night against the Rays. 

Jeff Roberson/AP

ST. LOUIS — When Adam Wainwright faced the Tampa Bay Rays last month, he shut them out for seven innings with his right elbow hurting so badly he would miss his next start.

On Tuesday night, rested and ready, Wainwright faced the Rays and gave up six runs and didn’t last five innings. Go figure.

"Yeah, last time I felt like the worst I ever felt and got seven shutout innings just throwing marshmallows over the plate and letting guys hit liners right to people," Wainwright said after the Cardinals’ 7-2 loss. "Tonight, I should have been good. I felt great. It doesn’t happen often, but my delivery was the main thing that was off. Usually my strength is repeating my delivery. Tonight I didn’t do it."

His out-of-whack mechanics led to a wacky fifth inning. In it, Wainwright walked three — including his first bases-loaded walk since 2010 — and hit a batter, and all four free passes came around to score. He made his first error in more than two years on a soft comebacker he tried to flip to first base before he had caught it, and that resulted in a run. He gave up two hits — an opposite-field, ground-ball single and a ground-rule double. Wainwright threw 39 pitches to get two outs in the inning after throwing 48 in the first four.

"That inning was a train wreck," Wainwright said. "It’s hard to explain. I know this game is incredibly frustrating sometimes, and probably for the fans, too, watching me, wondering what in the world I was doing out there. My delivery just completely fell out of whack."

Wainwright said he did not remember ever walking in a run and walking the pitcher in the same game, much less the same inning. He also encountered what he said was another first for him in the third inning.

He looked over at the opposing manager and said, "That’s enough." Wainwright said he felt that Rays manager Joe Maddon had spent enough time barking at umpire Mark Ripperger after Ben Zobrist struck out looking on a pitch that the Rays didn’t think was a strike.

"I felt like it was time to move on," Wainwright said. "He was yelling for a good while.

"I was ready to pitch, the umpire was ready. Sometimes it’s hard to pitch when the opposing manager is yelling. (It’s) kind of like yelling in your backswing (on the golf course)."

A week after being caught in a Twitter storm at the All-Star Game, Wainwright said he wasn’t looking for any trouble. "There’s no controversy here," he said. "Please don’t Tweet something crazy out."

He was more concerned with his outing. "Tonight was unacceptable and I’ll be better next time," Wainwright said.

He added that he already had watched video of every pitch as well as three other starts at home to figure out what he was doing wrong.

"There definitely were a couple of mechanical flaws that were very out of the ordinary for me," he said. "I saw it on tape, compared it to all my home starts this year and know what to work on. I’ll get back to doing what I do best next time."

3 UP

— Matt Holliday. Continuing his recent and long-awaited power surge, Holliday slugged a full-count fastball 424 feet into the center-field bleachers for his eighth homer, the third in his past seven games. He also was robbed of a hit on a liner to center field in the first.

— Busch Stadium. The 10 or so Rays who attended the late innings of Sunday night’s game against the Dodgers were impressed with the atmosphere as well as the size of the crowd. Rays right fielder Matt Joyce said the players decided on the spur of the moment to check out the game and were glad they did. Not only did the ushers find seats in Big Mac Land for them, Joyce said he also was treated to a couple of beers.

— Kevin Siegrist. The lefty reliever completed his minor-league rehab with a 27-pitch outing Monday night and will be back on the roster soon, perhaps even on Wednesday. If Siegrist returns then, he will have missed exactly two months since his last appearance — certainly longer than he thought.

"This was a shocker to me," he said. "It was probably the most frustrating thing to go through."

Siegrist said his fastball touched 95 mph at Springfield, but he sees no problem getting back to his typical 97. "You get more adrenaline up here, bigger situations," he said.


— Cardinals vs. Jake Odorizzi. In his two starts against his hometown team, Odorizzi has made the folks in nearby Highland, Ill., proud. In 12 2/3 innings against the Cardinals, he has given up three runs — all on bases-empty homers — while striking out 16. He was a hard-luck loser last month in Florida but earned the win with 5 2/3 solid innings in St. Louis. The win was his sixth of the season and dropped his ERA to 3.97.

— Jhonny Peralta. He struck out in each of his first three at-bats and did not look good doing so as he whiffed on six pitches. Peralta managed a single in his final at-bat on a slow roller that didn’t reach third base.

— Peter Bourjos. He made another excellent catch in center field, but he did not have much success at the plate. Bourjos struck out looking in both of his plate appearances after pinch-hitting for Jon Jay in the sixth with two out and two on. He came into the game on an 8-for-16 roll in July.

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