Marlins at Cardinals Saturday, July 16th, 2016

ST. LOUIS (AP) No doubt, Adam Wainwright was motivated by a pregame ceremony to honor the 2006 World Series champions.

The 6-foot-7 right-hander got the final out that season as the Cardinals’ stand-in closer – and finished what he started Saturday night by pitching a three-hitter as St. Louis cruised to a 5-0 victory over the Miami Marlins.

Wainwright and catcher Yadier Molina are the only two remaining Cardinals players from the 2006 title team. Former manager Tony La Russa had texted Wainwright jokingly suggesting that the pitcher petition skipper Mike Matheny to work the ninth on Saturday.

”He didn’t know I was starting and when I saw him for the picture, I said, `I’m probably going to ask him once the ninth rolls around if I can keep going,”’ Wainwright said.

Wainwright had thrown 108 pitches through eight innings and asked Matheny: ”Just give me 10 pitches.” Wainwright needed only a dozen to retire the side in order.

Jhonny Peralta homered and Stephen Piscotty had two hits, a walk and two RBIs for St. Louis.

Wainwright (9-5) struck out five with two walks and didn’t allow a hit until Adeiny Hechavarria doubled to open the sixth inning. The team’s longtime ace received a standing ovation in the eighth before striking out for the fourth straight time.

The only other time he fanned four times, Wainwright shut out the Rockies on May 11, 2013.

”Usually you get behind and guys want to make something happen and start trying to create things,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. ”It seemed like he used that aggressiveness against us.”

Wainwright is 3-0 with a 0.39 ERA in three starts this month. The shutout was his first since Sept. 17, 2014, against the Brewers, and his 22nd career complete game.

He missed virtually all of the 2015 season with a ruptured left Achilles and had a 5.71 ERA after the first two months. Now it’s down to 4.15.

”The start I had was a disaster, so it’s cool to be back pitching pretty good again and not the laughingstock of the baseball world anymore,” Wainwright said.

Matt Adams hit an RBI single in a four-run third, following Piscotty’s two-run double and an RBI double by Randal Grichuk.

After blowing two late leads in the series opener Friday night, St. Louis improved to 20-27 at home.

The Cardinals were flawless on defense a night after committing at least three costly miscues, among them their major league-leading 69th error. Matt Holliday, shaky at first base in the opener, didn’t play.

The highlight for Miami was a pair of diving catches by right fielder Giancarlo Stanton, the first robbing Adams of a two-run double to end the first and the second denying Aledmys Diaz a hit in the fourth.

Tom Koehler (6-8) lasted four innings, allowing four runs and seven hits. He’s 1-3 with a 7.84 ERA against St. Louis and has thrown four or fewer innings in three of his last four starts overall.

”Right now, honestly, it seems like when I execute a pitch it seems like it’s getting hit,” Koehler said. ”And when I don’t, it seems like it’s really getting hit.”

Miami (48-42) is a game ahead of St. Louis (47-43), with both chasing the second NL wild-card spot. The Marlins dropped back from a season-best seven games above .500.

Ichiro Suzuki grounded out while pinch hitting in the eighth and remained at 2,991 major league hits.


Marlins: 1B Justin Bour (ankle) is likely to need a rehab assignment before returning. He was eligible to come off the DL on Saturday.

Cardinals: RHP Jordan Walden (shoulder) has been throwing and will be examined by team doctors early next week. He hasn’t pitched since April 2015.


Marlins: LHP Adam Conley (6-5, 3.62 ERA) faces the Cardinals for the first time. Left-handed hitters have more success against him, .289 to .223 for right-handed hitters.

Cardinals: Michael Wacha (5-7, 4.36) has been on the upswing, going 3-1 with a 3.00 ERA in his last six starts.

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