On the mound, it was Adam Wainwright setting franchise records and being close to untouchable. At bat, it began with Carlos Beltran and his 3-run homer that sparked the St. Louis Cardinals into life, eventually taking a 1-0 lead in their NL division series against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
All the difference was about Wainwright, on one side for the Cardinals, and A.J. Burnett on the other end for the Pirates. Wainwright allowed only 3 hits and one run in the 7 innings he pitched, striking out nine batter without allowing a single walk. On the other end, Burnett gave up six hits and 7 runs in the 2 innings he was in, walking for more players and leaving the game with a 31.5 ERA. Jeanmar Gomez did a decent job after him in stopping the slide, but it was far too late to stop the 1-9 loss. Wainwright came into the game after going 4-0 in his last five starts, leading the NL with 19 wins. He is now 3-0 with a 2.27 ERA in 14 postseason games, five of them starts.
With his impressive performance, Adam Wainwright is the 1st pitcher in Cardinals franchise history with 9 strikeouts and 0 walks in a playoff game. He is also the 2nd Cardinals pitcher to strike out at least 5 batters in each of his first 5 postseason starts. The other was Bob Gibson, who did it in his first 9 postseason starts.
As for Burnett, his numbers were the matter of history, but on the negative side. It was his fifth start in Busch stadium since joining the Pirates last season, and he’s been awful on almost every opportunity he’s hard to pitch there. In 18 innings played, he has posted a 15.50 ERA, allowing 37 hits and 31 runs, with a WHIP of 2.61, striking out 16 players while allowing 10 walks.
He turned into the the starter in major-league history to allow 7 earned runs and get 6 outs or fewer in a postseason game. Like the rest of the distinguished members of this group, his team couldn’t overcome such awful pitching. He’s the 1st since Roberto Hernandez, named Fausto Carmona at the time, in Game 6 of the 2007 ALCS. He’s the first NL pitcher to do this bad since Brad Penny in the 2003 NLCS.
Burnett was the pitcher who Beltran hit the home run that began all the problems and pretty much ended the game. Beltran had 24 home runs this season for the Cardinals, but none of them as long as the 422-feet shot he got out of Burnett, and it’s his longest since a 458-foot shot off Jeff Weaver at Shea Stadium on Oct. 12, 2006. Beltran was the only one for the Cardinals to hit a home run on the day, but during that 7-run inning there were a few others the Pirates couldn’t touch. Jon Jay was especially difficult, finishing with 1-for-2, finishing with an RBI and two more walks.
To be able to get out on a good first step and play well today I think is big for our guys confidence-wise. Gives us an opportunity to just take some momentum, and momentum is big right now when you talk about a five-game series.