ATLANTA (AP) — Adam Wainwright was proud to pitch the 26th complete game of his career, no matter how long it went.
“I’ll take them however they give them to me,” he said. “If the next one is a five-inning rainout, I’ll take that one, too. I like going the distance. That’s a notch on the belt. That’s what we strive to do.”
Wainwright struck out 11 and pitched a three-hitter in going the full seven innngs, sending the St. Louis Cardinals over the Atlanta Braves 9-1 Sunday in the first game of a day-night doubleheader.
Nolan Arenado hit a two-run homer off Bryse Wilson in the first and Paul Goldschmidt added a three-run shot off Josh Tomlin in the fifth.
The 39-year-old Wainwright (5-5) didn’t allow a hit until the fourth, when Freddie Freeman singled.
Wainwright struck out slugger Ronald Acuña Jr. with a runner at second to end the fifth and St. Louis leading 6-1. With his second complete game this season, Wainwright tied Justin Verlander for most overall among active pitchers.
Wainwright reversed a trend in which he was 1-2 with an 8.20 in four road starts this year. He also improved to 8-0 in 10 doubleheader starts.
The Brunswick, Georgia, native had plenty of support in the stands.
“I set out today to pitch the entire game and got that done, especially against the Braves,” Wainwright said. “I had a bunch, a bunch, a bunch of people in the stands today. A lot of people were rooting for me. I appreciate it.”
After rain postponed Saturday’s game to force the doubleheader, the Cardinals snapped a six-game road losing streak, their longest under fourth-year manager Mike Shildt.
St. Louis had scored only 10 runs in its last seven games and was held to six hits and one run in the first two games of this four-game series before breaking loose.
The Braves, who play another doubleheader Monday at the New York Mets, have dropped seven of 10.
Tommy Edman singled off Wilson (2-3) to begin the first and stole second base to set up Arenado, who snapped a 0-for-20 slump with his 13th homer. Tyler O’Neill doubled to start the fourth and scored on Yadier Molina’s single.
Goldschmidt’s 10th homer came on Tomlin’s first pitch.
Braves manager Brian Snitker has marveled at Wainwright throughout the right-hander’s long, successful career.
“It’s amazing,” Snitker said. “He’s bouncing around there like he’s 20 years old. He’s done a great job of keeping himself together through a lot of adversity. He’s had injuries, too. The Achilles, the elbow, the whole thing — man, I told him five or six years ago that I hate it when he pitches against us, but it’s fun to watch him pitch. He can pitch.”
Snitker had no update on the status of LHP Tucker Davidson, who avoided Tommy John surgery last week after being diagnosed with a forearm strain. “He’s in that shutdown phase where they’re just going to cool everything down for a while,” Snitker said.
Acuña went 0 for 3 to snap the major leagues’ longest current on-base streak at 26 straight games.
Drew Smyly (3-3, 5.63 ERA) will face St. Louis for the second time in his career in the nightcap. Kwang Hyun Kim is facing Atlanta for the first time. … Braves RHP Ian Anderson (4-3, 3.58) and LHP Kyle Muller (0-0, 18.00) are set to start Monday’s doubleheader for Atlanta in a yet-to-be-determined order. … The Cardinals are off Monday. Johan Oviedo will start Tuesday’s game at Detroit.
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