April 16, 2009

Waino gutsy in 6th, earns win over Cubs

There were several junctures in the first game of a four-game series with the Chicago Cubs that could be called turning points, but none that sticks out as much as the bottom of the sixth inning.

In the inning prior, Cards' starting pitcher Adam Wainwright had just given up a three-run homer to Kosuke Fukadome to give the Cubs a one-run lead at 4-3. A half-inning prior, a blown hit-and-run between hitter Khalil Greene and base runner Chris Duncan had dimmed the hopes of tying up; that is, until Greene jacked a solo shot into the left field bleachers.

With the game knotted at 4-each, Wainwright ran into a rough sixth, one of those turning points, and for this game, probably the biggest momentum shift for the Cards.

The Cubs' Aramis Ramirez kicked off the inning with a single to right field. Geovany Soto was then struck out by Wainwright. After a Ryan Theriot walk, Cubs' manager Lou Piniella called for Milton Bradley to pinch-hit.

Wainwright took Bradley to a full count, then called time when he didn't like the pitch selection. Wainwright talked it over with catcher Yadier Molina, then proceeded to freeze Bradley with an inside curve ball. The called third strike found Bradley highly upset, having never taken the bat off his shoulder for six straight pitches. Bradley would be tossed from the game by the home plate umpire.

Wainwright had pitched his way to the second out, however. Alfonso Soriano then flied out to left fielder Chris Duncan to finish off the sixth inning with no damage.

The Cardinals would go on to score three more runs in the game and win 7-4. Wainwright picked up the victory, now 2-0 with a 3.31 ERA.