ST. LOUIS -- Adam Wainwright's day started as badly as it could but ended up just fine.
Wainwright gave up Junior Lake's homer on his first pitch and allowed six more hits and three runs after that. But he saved a tired bullpen by sticking around for seven innings Saturday and leading the St. Louis Cardinals to a 10-4 win over the Chicago Cubs.
It was hardly a vintage performance by Wainwright (2-1), who struck out eight and helped his own cause with an RBI single. The four runs were twice as many as he yielded in his first two starts.
''It was OK,'' said Wainwright, who led the majors with 241 2/3 innings pitched last year. ''I think because our offense was so great, I did what they needed me to do, just go a little later in the game and give the bullpen guys some rest.''
''We needed that,'' manager Mike Matheny said about Wainwright's outing. ''There were a couple of guys we were wanting to stay away from, for sure.''
In hindsight, Wainwright said there were only a few pitches he wanted back -- including his first one.
''He's an aggressive hitter,'' Wainwright said. ''I should have known he was going to be swinging there. That's OK to throw a fastball when you know they're swinging, but you've just got to locate your heater.''
The win was Wainwright's 101st with the Cardinals, tying Matt Morris, Larry Jackson and Max Lanier for 10th place on the franchise list.
Adams hit his first home run of the season, a leadoff shot in the second inning, and Jon Jay drove in two runs with a single.
''It was nice to get some runs, especially for Adam and let him do his thing,'' Matheny said. ''We took some good at-bats right from the top.''
The Cubs' Nate Schierholtz, who had four hits Friday night, had two doubles and an RBI.
''We did some good things, especially against Wainwright, who is an excellent pitcher,'' Chicago manager Rick Renteria said. ''We just didn't do enough.''
St. Louis did most of its damage against starter Carlos Villanueva (1-3), who allowed nine runs and 10 hits in three innings.
''I didn't feel bad,'' Villanueva said. ''I felt like I had good stuff. But they're a good team and they got me out of there quickly.''
After Adams' homer tied the game at 1, the Cardinals sent eight more batters to the plate in the second. Yadier Molina and Allen Craig followed with singles, and they came home on RBI singles by Descalso and Wainwright. Carpenter then drove home Descalso with an infield single to shortstop that made it 4-1.
St. Louis sent 10 more hitters to the plate in the fourth inning and broke it open by scoring five times.
Descalso started the inning with a double and was safe at third on Wainwright's sacrifice, with Wainwright reaching first on the fielder's choice. Carpenter and Kolten Wong followed with RBI singles and Matt Holliday had an RBI groundout. Jay's single off reliever Chris Rusin with two outs made it 9-2.
Renteria had a successful replay challenge in the third inning of first base umpire Jerry Layne's call on Jay's grounder to shortstop Starlin Castro. Layne had called Jay safe at first, but after reviewing the play, Jay was ruled out. ... St. Louis SS Jhonny Peralta, who has two hits in his first 32 at-bats for the lowest batting average among all qualifiers (.063), was given the day off. ... Castro, who had two hits, has hit safely in eight of his last nine games. ... Former Cardinal Edwin Jackson (0-0) will take the mound for the Cubs in the series finale Sunday against Michael Wacha (1-0). ... Craig was 1 for 12 on the homestand and hitless in his last eight at-bats before his second-inning single. ... With a victory Sunday, the Cubs can win a series for the first time since taking two of three from the Reds from Sept. 9-11 last season. Chicago has dropped eight straight series since.