Originally posted on Fox Sports Midwest  |  Last updated 5/12/12
ST. LOUIS It was an inning unlike any of the previous 908 thrown by Adam Wainwright in his career. Highlighting his continued bumpy return after missing the entire 2011 season due to Tommy John surgery, the usually accurate Wainwright suffered one of the most unique and odd innings of his career Saturday night. In the first inning of the Cardinals' eventual 7-2 loss to the Atlanta Braves at Busch Stadium, Wainwright experienced a plethora of unusual feats: -He walked three consecutive batters for the first time in his career. -He walked two batters with the bases loaded after achieving the feat just once previously in his career. -He walked two hitters after getting ahead in the count 0-2, something he did just three times during the entire 2010 season. -And most surprisingly he threw 39 pitches, the most pitches he had ever thrown in a single inning. Safe to say it was inning that nobody expected to see from the former 20-game winner and one they likely will never see again. "I was trying to think and I couldn't remember ever doing that, Wainwright said. "You throw 39 pitches in the first inning and you're putting yourself behind, especially after a long game like last night, I was disappointed I couldn't carry my team deeper in the game. "You never want to walk guys home, especially with Brian McCann and Chipper Jones on deck. I'm certainly not trying to compound the inning there. I don't know. I came back after the first and thought I was going to be fine. The Braves scored two runs in the first but left the bases loaded after Wainwright salvaged the damage by striking out Jones and Jason Heyward and getting Tyler Pastornicky to ground into a fielders choice. Wainwright reached 75 pitches in the third inning as he fell behind 3-0. He pitched into the fifth inning trailing by the same score before things unraveled again. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases with no outs in the fifth and Wainwright at 98 pitches. With a think bullpen thanks to an extra-inning affair the night before, manager Mike Matheny left Wainwright in to face lefty Jason Heyward. Wainwright struck out Heyward, surpassing his season high of 103 pitches in the process. But with Fernando Salas warm and waiting in the bullpen, Matheny left him in the game with the No. 8 and No. 9 hitters due up for Atlanta. But Pastornicky muscled an infield dribbler for a run-scoring single and pitcher Brandon Beachy followed with a line-drive to right to make it 5-0, ending Wainwright's night after 4 13 innings and a season high 108 pitches. "It was uncharacteristic but he's just such a competitor and he's trying to figure out how to make pitches, Matheny said. "He's not going to give in because he trusts his stuff but right now, some days his feel for all of his pitches are going to be there and he's going to have to fight other days. "He just didn't have the feel for it as much today. It was just one of those days he was trying to fight and could have used a couple breaks, a couple hops to go his way to get him out of some spots. It's just going to be one of those deals, he's just going to have to fight every night he gets the ball. Wainwright entered the game with a 6-0 record and a 2.48 ERA in six career starts against the Braves, who drafted him in the first round of the 2000 draft. But he suffered just the fifth five-walk game of his career, allowing nine hits and five earned runs in his second shortest outing of the season. It was Wainwright's first loss since April 19, slowing his positive momentum following three consecutive encouraging starts. The right-hander dropped to 2-4 with a 6.16 ERA in seven starts this year. "You look at my numbers and I've not been great this year, Wainwright said. " I will be and I'm going to continue to grind and make pitches, but tonight was one of those games where things did not go as planned. I'll keep battling. "I'm very close. I really am."
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