Wainwright dusts off Braves to complete winning day

News-DemocratAugust 24, 2013 

— Friday was as close to a perfect day as Adam Wainwright could enjoy.

In the late morning and early afternoon, Wainwright's new "Waino's World of Fantasy Football" held its draft and raised $111,000 for two charities: Operation Food Search and Water Missions International.

In the evening, Wainwright tamed the Atlanta Braves, posting his 15th victory of the season and his 16th complete game in the Cardinals' 3-1 win.

"I think it's one of the best days I can remember --not even baseball-wise. Just day, period," Wainwright said. "We just did such a cool thing this morning. We raised a ton of money. People had a lot of fun in what we did. I felt like we got a great response from the people who were involved with it. I can't wait to watch it grow.

"Then to come here and beat the Braves and throw a complete game, I'm going to sleep well tonight."

Wainwright (15-7) allowed one run on six hits, matching a career-high with his fifth complete game of the season.

He also drove in a run with a seventh-inning sacrifice fly and moved into third place, one spot ahead of Chris Carpenter, on the Cardinals' career strikeout list.

Wainwright walked none and fanned nine, giving him 1,090 strikeouts in his St. Louis career. He trails Dizzy Dean (1,095) and legendary Bob Gibson (3,117).

Carpenter's fifth strikeout of the game, against Chris Johnson in the fourth inning, surpassed Carpenter (1,085).

"Just to pass Carp, I don't even know what to say about that," Wainwright said. "He's been my mentor and a guy that's taught me so much in this game as I've been a Cardinal. He taught me how to be a professional up here, and the guy I watched coming up through the system was him.

"I think it just means I'm getting old."

Wainwright also tied Carpenter in victories with the Cardinals with 95. Wainwright is 95-55 in his career in St. Louis, Carpenter is 95-44.

"Similar numbers all the way around, I think," Wainwright said. "I've got to get some postseason wins like he's got now, and we'll start talking about comparable careers. He's been such a horse for so many years. It's just an honor to be in the same conversation."

Wainwright's NFL fantasy draft, held at Busch Stadium, attracted 44 people, all of whom paid $2,500 apiece to compete. One person contributed an extra $1,000.

The participants were able to draft with Wainwright and three teammates: David Freese, Matt Holliday and Allen Craig. They also ate lunch and watched the game in a suite and were on the field to view batting practice before the game.

Wainwright's game-day routine, therefore, was anything but normal. But it didn't affect him.

"It was fun," Wainwright said. "It's been a little while since I went the full nine (June 29 at Oakland). It's always good to do it. I felt like our team needed it tonight. We beat a very tough team, a very tough pitcher (Kris Medlen) and we're excited to come away with a win."

The Braves scored their only run against Wainwright in the sixth on Freddie Freeman's two-out single on a full-count pitch that tied the game at 1. Holliday's 17th homer in the sixth put the Cardinals ahead for good, and Wainwright added a sacrifice fly in the seventh.

"He was as good as you could ever ask," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "That was very impressive and much, much needed in a lot of ways."

Wainwright finished with a season-high 128 pitches and set the tone for a clean ninth inning by racing to the mound.

"He wanted to make a point, I think, by running out like he did and looking like he was fresh," said Matheny, who caught Wainwright's warmup pitches in the ninth after Yadier Molina was thrown out at second for the final out of the eighth.

"Even when he warmed up ... He usually just kind of lobs the ball," Matheny said. "I think he wanted to show he had something left in the tank."

Wainwright said he was just reacting to how he felt.

"I felt very good tonight. I felt strong," he said. "Even into the ninth there, I had a lot of pitches and still felt very sharp, very strong.

"At this point in the season, our starters should be very strong. If we've hit a bump in the road, we should be over it and ready for the stretch run now."

Contact reporter David Wilhelm at dwilhelm@bnd.com or 239-2665. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidMWilhelm.

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