Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cubs Tee off on Wainwright

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cubs Tee off on Wainwright

Article excerpt

CHICAGO * In his last start, the one that went awry against Atlanta, Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright suspected he was tipping his pitches, cluing Braves hitters into what he was about to throw next with a subtle, repeated movement.

On Friday, there was no subtlety, no hiding hittable from the Cubs.

"The way I was tipping was when they got in the batter's box they knew I was going to throw something over the middle of the plate," Wainwright said, wryly. "Do that against a good team and they're going to hit it really hard. That was terrible. That was pathetic. I let the team down."

In his shortest start of the season and the ugliest road start of his career, Wainwright did not last long enough to tip or throw a pitch in the third inning. The Cubs jumped the Cardinals ace for seven runs in two innings and kept thundering away for a 13-2 rout at Wrigley Field.

The Cubs ejected Wainwright from the game after Willson Contreras' three-run homer punctuated a five-run second inning, and they piled on with four more home runs hit off long reliever Jerome Williams. The victory extended the Cubs' winning streak to a season- best 11 games and upped their lead in the National League Central to 14 games ahead of the second-place Cardinals.

The loss assured the Cardinals that they cannot leave Chicago after this four-game series any better than when they came. At best, they'll split the series and be 12 games back again.

The lopsidedness of the loss comes less than 24 hours after the Cardinals learned they would be without Matt Holliday for a month or more because of the fractured thumb he suffered when hit by a pitch in Thursday's loss. The Cubs' runaway lead in the division, the lack of Holliday and the overall malaise of the Cardinals' play served as a backdrop for Wainwright's start opposite Cubs ace Jake Arrieta. It also added to the sting of what Wainwright repeatedly referred to as the "worst" start of what's become his "worst" season.

"In this situation, we needed a win," Wainwright said. "This team over there had won 10 (consecutive) games. They had a good pitcher going on the mound. I just didn't show up. That was embarrassing. This is the worst season of my career. This is terrible."

Wainwright slipped to 9-7 and his ERA spiked to what would be a career-high 4.72, almost undoing all the success he had in July to shave it down below 5.00. Only once previously in his 244 other starts had he not thrown more than two innings, and for the first time this season he failed to throw five.

Cubs leadoff hitter Matt Szczur scored twice off Wainwright and homered twice off Williams for his four-run, three-hit day. He opened the bottom of the first with a double squeezed down the right- field line. Szczur scored on Kris Bryant's double, and by the middle of the start of the second inning Bryant had two doubles, two RBIs and two runs. …

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