In the Cardinals' 5-0 win over the Diamondbacks on Tuesday night, St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright got more help than he needed. That's because Wainwright was utterly dominant in pitching the first one-hitter of his career.
On the night, Wainwright struck out nine and walked none over the course of his complete-game shutout. Of his 115 pitches, 86 went for strikes, and he also recorded nine ground-outs. The lone hit he allowed was a fourth-inning double off the bat of Paul Goldschmidt.
As you'll see, he was freezing guys in two-strike counts all night ...
Effciency? It's Wainwright's hallmark when he's on, and Tuesday night was no exception. Three times he needed just nine pitches to retire the side, and in only one inning -- the fourth -- did he require more than 15 pitches to get his three outs. Perhaps most impressive is that of the 35 curveballs Wainwright threw on the night, 28 were for strikes. That's the hardest pitch to control, generally speaking, and Wainwright put it in the zone 80 percent of the time.
In all, Wainwright, per Brooks Baseball, threw five different pitches for strikes against the Diamondbacks and was highly effective with the sinker (81 percent for strikes). Per the Game Score measure, it was the most dominant outing of Wainwright's career (a 94 Game Score for Tuesday), and that's counting the postseason.
Thanks to his efforts, Wainwright in 2014 has now pitched to a 1.85 ERA after 10 starts. He's also given up no unearned runs on the season, permitted just three homers in 73 innings and logged a strikeout-to-unintentional-walk ratio of 5.0. In true ace form, Wainwright's averaging more than seven innings per start.
The 32-year-old right-hander has twice finished runner-up in the NL Cy Young balloting and placed third on another occasion. Will this be the year he lands the hardware?