JUPITER, Fla. -- For Adam Wainwright, spring training is off to a nice start.
The World Series closer, bidding for a place in the St. Louis Cardinals' rebuilt rotation, pitched three hitless innings Wednesday to help beat the Florida Marlins 6-3 in the exhibition opener for both teams.
Wainwright, who earned the win, walked one and fell behind several other batters. But he still needed only 30 pitches -- 15 strikes -- to get through the first three innings, facing 10 batters.
"I did some things well to get some first-pitch outs, but I did a lot of things I'll need to improve on," he said. "All in all it was a good first time."
Former Cardinals pitcher Rick Ankiel, bidding for a spot on the roster as an outfielder, went 2-for-2 with a two-run single but was thrown out at the plate twice.
Wainwright will likely be a starter this season, unless closer Jason Isringhausen suffers a setback in his rehabilitation from hip surgery. Wainwright filled in for an injured Isringhausen last October, allowed no earned run in 9 2/3 postseason innings and saved the clinching games against the New York Mets in the NL Championship Series and the Detroit Tigers in the World Series.
"It feels like three days away," Wainwright said. "No offseason -- I spent a lot of time with these guys. But at the same time, my thinking was it was a million years away. I'm really trying to forget about that.
"I feel I haven't proved anything yet. I have to prove myself all over again as a starter. Hopefully I can persuade some of these guys I'm going to do all right."
Florida starter Scott Olsen took the loss, allowing one run and four hits in 1 2/3 innings. Ricky Nolasco pitched two scoreless innings for the Marlins.