CINCINNATI -- This could be quite a race.
Not the one that Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright has brewing with any other starter in the National League for the game's highest pitching prize or its best statistics. But the one between the people charged with finding new ways to describe Wainwright's dominance and the righthander's new ways to show it.
As an encore for the first one-hitter of his career, Wainwright struck out a career-best 12 batters and fired eight scoreless innings in a 4-0 victory against the rival Reds at Great American Ball Park. He held Cincinnati to five hits and for the sixth time already this season pitched at least seven innings without allowing a run. No pitcher in the majors has as thrown as many zeroes this season. Wainwright (8-2) appeared to be inventing different ways to retire Reds by the end of his eighth win of the season, as his ERA dipped to 1.67.
He got a called strikeout on a fastball in the sixth at 92 mph.
Two innings later, he threw a Niagara Falls curve – one that cascaded sharply down into the strike zone – at 66 mph to Brandon Phillips before the infielder flew out to end the inning.
Backup catcher Tony Cruz not only got to catch 117 of Wainwright's pitches but also contribute at the plate. Cruz sparked a rally with his single in the second inning of Reds righty Mike Leake (2-4), and Cruz rescued an inning with an RBI single in the sixth. Those two hits led to the Cardinals' first two runs, and they continued to add on with the help of two Cincinnati errors later. The Cardinals had 33 hits in the three-game visit to Cincinnati, and while they didn't have the extra-base wallop of their rivals they did strike the relentless tone long imagined by manager Mike Matheny.
The combination of enough offense and too much Wainwright for the Reds gave the Cardinals their 11th series victory in their last 12 series against Cincinnati.
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