Wainwright, Descalso enjoy big nights

2013-05-22T04:45:00Z 2013-05-23T14:21:11Z Wainwright, Descalso enjoy big nightsBy Rick Hummel 314-340-8196

SAN DIEGO  Adam Wainwright, Daniel Descalso and Mike Matheny all recorded firsts at Petco Park on Tuesday night.

The first had never won a game here as a pitcher. The second never had hit a grand slam. And the third had been 0-4 here as a manager.

All those droughts were quenched in a 10-2 Cardinals win over San Diego as Cardinals righthander Wainwright held the Padres to four hits and one run in 7 1/3 innings and second baseman Descalso drove in a single-game high five runs, including belting a grand slam in a four-run eighth inning. Matheny now is 1-4 at Petco Park in his two seasons in charge of the Cardinals.

Almost from the beginning, the Cardinals were hitting rockets off San Diego starter Edinson Volquez but there was little fruition until the fifth when the Cardinals raked Volquez, 2-5 in his career against the Cardinals and 3-5 for the season, for six hits and four runs.

Breaking a 1-1 tie, Jon Jay singled to right and motored in from first on Descalso’s second hit of three, a double into the right-field corner. Pete Kozma beat out an infield hit, sending Descalso to third.

Wainwright sacrificed for the second time, putting two runners in scoring position as Descalso held third.

Matt Carpenter struck out but Carlos Beltran picked him up with a two-out single that ran the Cardinals’ lead to 4-1. Beltran is 15 for 33 (.454) with runners in scoring position.

Matt Holliday then singled and Allen Craig, a.405 batter with men in scoring position, doubled to make it 5-1

Matheny recalled similar games this season where the Cardinals would hit a number of balls hard, get nothing out it and then the opposing pitcher would gain some momentum and wouldn’t be caught.

“But (the hitters) stuck to their approach,” said Matheny. “When you’re hitting balls hard, don’t do anything drastically different.”

Wainwright said, “I heard (third-base coach) Joe Oquendo come in and say, ‘Keep swinging. Keep swinging. We’ll get him.’

“I felt my job was to keep putting up zeroes because our guys were going to get him.”

Descalso, in the Cardinals’ lineup largely because David Freese’s right hand still was swollen, was hitting .197 at game time. And the count was 1-2 when the lefthanded batter turned around Anthony Bass’ next offering and smacked his second homer of the season.

San Diego helped the Cardinals a bit in the inning. Matt Holliday struck out but reached first on Bass’ wild pitch. Then, after Allen Craig singled, Yadier Molina bounced into a potential double play. But shortstop Everth Cabrera was ruled to have left second base too soon after taking first baseman Yonder Alonso’s relay. Molina was out at first but the other runners were safe.

Jay was walked intentionally in front of Descalso, who made the Padres pay.

“It was a slider that caught a lot of plate,” said Descalso.

“It’s nice to hit a grand slam, but I would have taken a sac fly there. As long as I had a productive at-bat there, it didn’t matter what it was.”

Descalso has lifted his average over .200. At .228, he hopes never to see the Mendoza Line again.

“ I’m able to make adjustments (at the plate) easier now, so even though I haven’t played a ton, I feel like when I get my chances lately, I’ve been putting together good at-bats,” he said.

Wainwright, raising his record to 6-3, allowed just one hit from the second inning through one out in the seventh and that hit was erased in a double play. He walked only one and struck out six, raising his totals in those departments to six and 69, respectively.

Although this was his first win here, he is 4-2 against the Padres in his career, with a spiffy 1.34 earned run average.

“Check it off,” said Wainwright, who did not know he had missed Petco. Only Citi Field in New York remains as current National League parks in which Wainwright hasn’t won.

“I thought that was one of his better games,” said Matheny. “Without question, the best changeup I’ve seen from him. That definitely kept the lefthanded hitters off balance.”

Wainwright thought he was “directionally better” than he had been when he lost to New York, 5-2, last Saturday when he felt was falling off the rubber too much toward first base.

“I got back on track tonight and followed through,” said Wainwright, who also noted that he had thrown the changeup far more often than the one time against the Mets when Daniel Murphy doubled off it.

When Wainwright came out of the game after 100 pitches, he was greeted by a rousing ovation from the many hundreds of Cardinals fans who were sitting on the third-base side.

“That was awesome,” said Wainwright. “It was pretty special. It’s not rare for our fans to show up but it’s rare for our fans to be louder than the home fans.

“When I walked off today, it felt like a home game. St. Louis fans. . . we’re spoiled rotten playing in front of them all the time.”

Rookie Carlos Martinez, who is not going to be the pitcher sent back to Memphis to make room for tonight’s starter, Tyler Lyons, finished up for Wainwright and allowed a scratch run in the ninth.

“He’s coming around,” said Matheny. “Every time we get him out there, I think he’s getting better. He’s got some exciting innings ahead of him.”

Matheny said the corresponding roster move for Lyons won’t be made until later today. It would seem to come down to one of two relievers, Joe Kelly or Fernando Salas.

Rick is a baseball writer/columnist at the Post-Dispatch 

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