The St. Louis Cardinals got eight shutout inning from veteran pitcher Adam Wainwright and held on to beat the Chicago Cubs 2-1 Sunday afternoon at Busch Stadium, sweeping the three game series.
It’s the fourth win in a row for the Cards, who won only nine of 27 games in the month of May.
Wainwright (5-5) walked a career high seven hitters and struck out eight, and didn’t allow a hit until Kris Bryant’s one out single in the top of the sixth.
The Cards scratched a run off Chicago lefty Cole Hamels (4-2) n the bottom of the fifth.
With one out, Jedd Gyorko walked and stole second, then took third when catcher Willson Contreras threw the ball into center field.
The Cardinals picked up an insurance run in the eighth when Kolten Wong singled and stole second.
Matt Carpenter came off the bench and delivered a pinch hit single, scoring Wong.
St. Louis closer Jordan Hicks got into trouble in the ninth, allowing a walk to Contreras and a single to Jason Heyward before being removed from the game by Manager Mike Schildt.
Addison Russell got an RBI groundout off John Gant to close the gap to 2-1 before Gant retired David Bote on a grounder to short to end the contest.
The biggest roar from the crowd came as the Cubs were threatening to put up a run against Wainwright in the eighth.
With one out, pinch hitter Daniel Descalso walked, then Kyle Schwarber singled.
After Bryant struck out, Anthony Rizzo ripped a ball that appeared to be headed for right field.
Wong got a nice break off the bat, then leaped high in the air to snag the ball, saving a run.
Wainwright was ecstatic. “What a great play by Kolten Wong, because I made the exact pitch I wanted to make and Rizzo, he put a great swing on it. In my mind, as soon as he hit it, I though oh no, he’s just jammed one in there on me, and Kolt came out of nowhere and just made a great play. There’s not a better defensive second baseman in baseball. He’s an amazing fielder and we love having him behind us.”
Wainwright says he had good stuff in Sunday’s outing. “Obviously I had a few walks out there too, some tough at bats they threw on me. I needed to be a little more on the plate. It’s been a building process. I’m pretty comfortable right now. I’ve just got to make sure I maintain that.”
The Cardinals, who dipped to two games below .500 on May 29th, are now 30-28.
After an off day at home on Monday, St. Louis will host the Cincinnati Reds Tuesday night at 7:15 p.m. at Busch Stadium.
Genesis Cabrera (0-1, 7.36 ERA) will take the mound for the Cardinals against the Reds’ Luis Castillo (5-1, 2.45 ERA).
Wainwright threw a season-high 126 pitches. He’s the first pitcher at his age (37 years, 276 days) to throw 126 or more pitches in a scoreless start since Derek Lowe did it for the Cleveland Indians at Minnesota on May 15th, 2012.
Former Springfield Cardinals catcher Andrew Knizner made his Major League debut Sunday, starting behind the plate and catching all eight of Wainwright’s shutout innings. Knizner also caught the veteran when Wainwright made rehab appearances in both Springfield and Memphis last year.
Shortstop Paul DeJong snapped an 0-12 streak with a base hit in the fourth inning.
The sweep is the first for St. Louis since April 22nd-24th against Milwaukee.