Wainwright's gem leads Cards past Cubbies
Adam Wainwright came within an out of the St. Louis Cardinals' second complete game during a three-game sweep of the Chicago Cubs and Albert Pujols hit a first-inning homer that knocked out the "I" on the Big Mac Land sign in left field in a 3-1 victory Thursday night.
Wainwright (4-2) allowed five hits in 8 2-3 innings, striking out seven with one walk before Ryan Franklin got Milton Bradley to line out with a man on for his 11th save in 12 chances. The Cubs were limited to two runs in the series and have lost four in a row for the second time this season, and also have dropped five of six to the Cardinals.
Joel Pineiro threw a three-hitter in the series opener Tuesday and Chris Carpenter worked five scoreless innings on Wednesday.
Brian Barden also homered and Colby Rasmus had an RBI single for the Cardinals, who handled their biggest rivals right after getting swept by the Brewers. The Cardinals swept the Cubs in a three-game series for the first time since August 2006.
Wainwright was hurt only by Kosuke Fukudome's RBI single in the sixth. He retired the Cubs in order five times with two of his strikeouts against leadoff hitter Alfonso Soriano. He's allowed one run in eight innings in consecutive starts, losing 1-0 to the Brewers' Jeff Suppan in his last outing.
Wainwright is 2-0 in three starts against the Cubs this season.
Soriano was 1 for 12 with six strikeouts in the series. Ryan Theriot was 1 for 11, and Mike Fontenot and Milton Bradley each went 1 for 10.
Pujols ended a five-game RBI drought when he hit a 1-1 pitch from Sean Marshall (2-3) with two outs in the first for his 14th homer and sixth in the first inning, to end his longest RBI drought of the year. Barden, who's 5 for 6 against Marshall connected off a hanging breaking ball with one out in the fourth for a 3-0 lead.
Marshall made his first start in 11 days and allowed two earned runs in five innings. Third baseman Ryan Freel's throwing error led to an unearned run in the third.
The Cardinals are 17-16 against the Cubs at 4-year-old Busch Stadium. ... The Cubs have scored four or more runs in all 21 wins and three or fewer in 15 of their 18 losses. ... Yadier Molina is in a 3-for-26 slump. ... Entering the game, Marshall had held the top three hitters in the lineup to a .178 average (8 for 45) with one RBI. The Cardinals were 2 for 8 with two RBIs. ... The Cubs previously lost four in a row from April 22-25.