ST. LOUIS -- This was a pitching duel that lived up to its billing and it seemed that even the participants could feel it was a little different.
At least one of them was willing to speak about the experience.
Adam Wainwright earned the win in Saturday’s 4-1 victory over the Phillies at Busch Stadium. He allowed just the one run in eight innings, striking out seven and walking none.
This was against Cole Hamels, who had a 0.30 ERA in his previous four June starts.
Hamels pitched well, allowing three runs, two earned, in 7 1/3 innings. He had only allowed one run through seven innings, but appeared to run out of gas in the eighth, ending with 120 pitches.
Hamels declined to talk to reporters afterwards, but Wainwright offered some great perspective.
He was asked if there is a little extra incentive when pitching against a quality starter like Hamels.
“Sometimes we get a little too caught up in who we are facing as a pitcher,” said Wainwright, now 10-3 with a 2.08 ERA. “I was facing today (Jimmy) Rollins, (Carlos) Ruiz, and (Chase) Utley, (Ryan) Howard, (Marlon) Byrd and those guys.”
While he did well against those guys, he didn’t have as much success against Hamels who was 2 for 3 with a double.
“It ended up Hamels was one of the best hitters on the team today, but sometimes we get caught up in this other stuff, rather than focus on who we are trying to getting out,” Wainwright said.
Still, Wainwright admitted, it wasn’t an ordinary run-of-the-mill start when opposed by Hamels.
“It’s a good matchup,” he said. “I get excited about matchups like that for sure.”
Wainwright showed the excitement by the way he pitched. The veteran righthander demonstrates that one doesn’t need to throw 98 miles per hour to be successful. He is more of a low 90’s pitcher with excellent movement.
“With him, everything is moving one way or another,” Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said of Wainwright.” He has a fastball that moves in both directions, a cut fastball and two-seam fastball.”
And it is where he places all his pitches that is most impressive.
“He works on the corners, mixing in slow curveballs when he has to,” Sandberg said. “He works the corners, similar to what Cole does.”
On this day he was slightly better than Hamels. Wainwright is so talented that he doesn’t need any extra incentive, but he pitched like he had it on Saturday. And in doing so, he ending two streaks, the Cardinals three-game losing skid and the Phillies five-game win streak.