SAN FRANCISCO -- Adam Wainwright thrives on showing a different look nearly every time he faces a hitter or a team, whether it be a complete windup, a windup from the belt or a hesitation windup a la the Japanese pitchers.
The St. Louis Cardinals' ace also enjoys varying the speeds and breaks of a fistful of pitches. But he tried something completely different at AT&T Park Wednesday night. He endeavored to pitch a shutout without striking anybody out.
He almost made it as the Cardinals held off the San Francisco Giants, 2-0, to snap a losing streak at three. As it turned out, Wainwright finally got a strikeout to end the seventh inning and he needed help from both Pat Neshek, who inherited a two-on, two-out spot in the eighth, and Trevor Rosenthal, who gained his 25th save to Wainwright's 11th win.
Wainwright, who ranked eighth in the National League with 105 strikeouts before the game, became a ground-ball machine for the first 6 2/3 innings.
Of the first 20 Giants outs, 16 were recorded on the ground, including a diving stop by third baseman Matt Carpenter on Pablo Sandoval's grounder for the second out of the seventh. Four were in the air, including three fly balls to center where rookie Oscar Taveras, getting his first big-league taste of the position, handled two and defensive replacement Peter Bourjos one.
Finally, Wainwright caught Michael Morse on a checked swing to end the seventh for his first and only strikeout.
Since being roughed up by the Giants in St. Louis on May 30, to the tune of seven runs in 4 1/3 innings, Wainwright (11-4) has made five starts, with a break in the middle to rest a tingling right elbow. He has given up only four earned runs over 38 2/3 innings for a 0.93 ERA.
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