ST. LOUIS (AP) — Adam Wainwright allowed two runs in seven innings, Tyler O’Neill homered twice and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Cleveland Indians 8-2 Wednesday night to stop a six-game losing streak.
“I like stepping into that role,” Wainwright said about being a stopper. “I like a little extra incentive for whatever situation. I like pitching on special days and today was a special day that we needed me to go out and pitch well and I’m glad I did.”
O’Neill hit a 451-foot, two-run homer in the third off Phil Maton and a solo homer in the seventh against Trevor Stephan, helping the Cardinals avoid what would have been their first seven-game skid since June 2017. O’Neill, who also had an infield single to keep the first inning alive, leads St. Louis with 15 homers and 32 RBIs.
“It’s a fun sport when you’re hitting the ball,” O’Neill said. “You put balls in play, good things happen.”
Matt Carpenter drove in three runs with a bases-loaded double and Paul Goldschmidt had a solo homer for the Cardinals, who won for just the second time in their last 10 games.
Wainwright (4-5), at 39 the oldest active player in the National League, won for the second time in five starts. He also got his first hit of the season with a fourth-inning single to snap an 0-for-20 slump.
“Whether you’re young or old, you’ve got a job to do and that’s perform,” Wainwright said.
He fell behind 2-0 in the first on Eddie Rosario’s RBI double and Harold Ramírez’s sacrifice fly, then followed with six hitless innings, retiring 11 in a row at one stretch. He struck out six and walked none.
“You know, in the first inning he didn’t look like he had his ‘A’ stuff but like a lot of good veterans, man they got him those runs and he came out and just put on a clinic,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. “He threw all his pitches for strikes. He was terrific. We had a really difficult time obviously.”
Wainwright made a vow to himself when he came off the field after the first inning.
“No adjustment was needed. I made good pitches in that first inning and they made some swings,” Wainwright said. “I knew I was making pitches. I didn’t push the panic button. I came to the dugout and said they’re not scoring anymore runs. I’m keeping it right there. Our hitters made sure to put some runs on the board.”
After leading for only 2 1/2 innings during its skid, the Cardinals ahead to stay with a four-run first.
Yadier Molina, who returned to the lineup from a bruised knee, drew two-out walk in a 10-pitch at-bat with the bases loaded. Carpenter, who entered hitting .177, followed with a bases-clearing double..
Carpenter’s hit chased J.C. Mejia (1-1) from his second big league start.
“You have to take this game as a lesson and keep moving forward,” Mejia said through a translator. “The main lesson is to finish each batter and use all my pitches.”
After the first inning, one Cleveland batter reached against Wainwright, Génesis Cabrera and Ryan Helsley.
Wainwright and Molina made their 284th career start as battery mates, passing the Dodgers combo of Don Drysdale and John Roseboro (1957-67) for fourth since 1908, when records of that category began.
HIT BY PITCH
Wainwright hit Bradley Zimmer with a pitch in the fifth inning after hitting a career-high three in his previous start. He has seven hit batters, two shy of us career high in 2007. St. Louis pitchers lead the major leagues with 50 in 62 games.
Indians: OF Jordan Luplow (left ankle) has resumed some baseball activities including running.
Cardinals: SS Paul DeJong (non-displaced rib fracture) went 0 for 5 in a doubleheader for Triple-A Memphis and was to return to St. Louis for an evaluation. St. Louis may activate him during a series starting Friday at the Chicago Cubs.
Indians: RHP Aaron Civale (8-2, 3.49) starts Friday’s series opener against visiting Seattle.
Cardinals: RHP Johan Oviedo (0-2, 5.25) is to start the series opener at Wrigley Field.