Just one other time in eight years did Adam Wainwright perform as poorly as he did Tuesday and the Cardinals dropped the opener of a quick two-game series to local product Jake Odorizzi and the Rays, 7-2.
In almost as atypical a fashion possible, Wainwright, usually such an economical marksman, shot himself in the foot over and over again until he fell.
The killer? A nightmare fifth inning in which Wainwright walked three, hit a batter, made an error and allowed two doubles and five runs.
Wainwright went just 4 2/3, allowing six runs (four earned) on six hits in all.
It was just the third time in 205 career starts Wainwright allowed four or more runs in five or fewer innings, and just the second time since 2007.
In the process Wainwright fell to 12-5 and lost his grip on the major league ERA lead, as it jumped to 2.02.
It all happened in such a non-Wainwright way.
He walked the leadoff batter. He bobbled a routine dribbler. He plunked a hitter to load the bases and then walked another to drive a run in (for just sixth time in career).
Meanwhile, his opponent wavered, but never collapsed.
Odorizzi, who graduated Highland high school in 2008 before being drafted 32nd overall by Milwaukee, celebrated his first career start at Busch Stadium in many milestone fashion.
Odorizzi earned his first win against his childhood team, collected his first RBI in his first career plate appearance, and left after 5 2/3 innings to a rousing ovation.
His squeeze bunt in the second came in his first at bat since high school and tied the game at 1. He also struck out and walked against Wainwright.
Odorizzi handily outpitched his childhood idol, after Wainwright beat him on June 10 in a game that ended up being much more of a duel.
Odorizzi struck out eight and allowed five hits and two runs to earn his sixth win. He was hurt twice only by solo home runs from Matt Carpenter and Matt Holliday.
The Cardinals fell 1.5 games behind Milwaukee after the Brewers topped Cincinnati, 4-3.
(c)2014 St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Visit the St. Louis Post-Dispatch at www.stltoday.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services