Wainwright pitches 4 scoreless in first spring start
JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — Adam Wainwright pitched four innings of four-hit ball in his spring training debut, and the St. Louis Cardinals scored in the bottom of the ninth to beat an Atlanta Braves’ split squad 1-0 Saturday.
Wainwright allowed four hits, walked one and struck out three in a spring debut that had been delayed because he suffered a mild abdominal strain early in camp.
Wainwright had to move quickly off the mound a couple of times for defensive purposes and said he felt no issues. On a high chopper hit toward him, Wainwright took a quick step before he heard manager Mike Matheny from the dugout.
“I probably could have got it but I had our manager in the background yelling, ‘Easy! Easy!’ so I dogged it a little more than I wanted to,” Wainwright said.
Matheny admitted he yelled at Wainwright to stop, but added: Of course, that’s like harnessing the wind.”
Wainwright said he will be ready to start April 5, opening night at Wrigley Field.
“I can now clearly say that there’s no question in my mind that going forward, I’m out of the woods,” Wainwright said. “There wasn’t really.”
The Cardinals clinched the game when Dean Anna singled to right to score Charlie Tilson with no outs in the ninth. Tilson was pinch-running for Yadier Molina, who caught nine innings and had two hits.
Cardinals RF Jason Heyward played against the team that drafted him for the first time since being traded in the offseason, and said it was just like playing against any other opponent.
Matheny wasn’t so sure about that. Heyward singled in two at-bats and hit an impressive foul ball.
“He smashed it,” Matheny said. “I know he was trying, especially against those guys. That’s the way it works. He came unglued on (a foul) he hit off his calf. He was trying to hit it over that building.”
TURNING TWO, UNUSUALLY
Atlanta first baseman Joey Terdoslavich turned an unassisted double play at third base in the seventh inning when he fielded a grounder, charged toward the third-base line and caught Yadier Molina off third base. Terdoslavich then turned and tagged out Anna sliding into third.
“That wasn’t as fantastic a play as it was a missed opportunity on the bases,” said Matheny, adding that a slight hesitation by Anna cost him a chance to make third safely.
Cardinals RHP Carlos Martinez, bidding to make the rotation, followed Wainwright with three scoreless innings. Martinez worked around an error in the seventh when the Braves put their first two batters on before he struck out two and got a groundout to first base.
After allowing six base runners while retiring only one batter in his previous outing, Braves RHP Chien-Ming Wang held the Cardinals scoreless for 4 2/3 innings. Wang faced the minimum through four innings but tired in the fifth and was lifted after allowing a hit and two walks.
Braves: RF Nick Markakis took batting practice for the second time this spring and reported no issues with his surgically repaired neck. The Braves still believe Markakis could be ready for opening day.
St. Louis: Veteran RHP John Lackey will make the 3 ½-hour trip to Sarasota on Sunday to face the Orioles in his second spring start. Rookie LHP Marco Gonzales is also scheduled to pitch. CF Jon Jay will be among the Cardinals to stay overnight on the Gulf coast to play the Red Sox in Ft. Myers on Monday.
Braves: RHP Shelby Miller, who pitched four scoreless innings in his previous outing, will start for the Braves on Sunday when they return to their spring home at Disney World to face the Detroit Tigers.