Officially, Adam Wainwright has made one Opening Day start for St. Louis. He pitched adequately, but the outcome was a disaster for the Cardinals.
He’ll be hoping for a better result than was produced in his lone Opening Day start April 6, 2009, against the Pirates at St. Louis.
The Cardinals led, 2-0, when Wainwright was lifted with one out in the sixth after walking Andy LaRoche and Brandon Moss. Nyjer Morgan’s two-out, two-run single off Trever Miller tied the score at 2-2.
Wainwright’s line: 5.1 innings, 4 hits, 2 runs, 5 walks and 7 strikeouts. He threw 94 pitches, 54 for strikes. The strikeouts were the most by a Cardinals Opening Day starter since Matt Morris struck out seven Rockies in 2002.
On a windy, frigid day, Wainwright survived a bases-loaded first-inning jam unscathed. But he threw 20 pitches in the opening inning and 18 in the second.
“At first, I had to slow my tempo down because I wasn’t sweating like I normally do,” Wainwright said to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “But I should have done so much better. I wasted so many pitches, pitches that were balls right out of my hand. No one is going to offer at those.”
Wainwright walked Moss after being ahead in the count 0-and-2. “I felt I could have gotten him out several different ways, but I didn’t make a quality pitch,” Wainwright said. “You get ahead of a guy like that, especially with a lead, you’ve got to put your foot on their throat.”
After St. Louis scored twice in the eighth for a 4-2 lead (Ryan Ludwick homered and David Freese, in his major-league debut, hit a sacrifice fly), the Pirates rallied for four runs off Jason Motte with two outs in the ninth and won, 6-4. Boxscore
“We’re going to be able to see what he (Motte) is made of real quick,” Wainwright told Post-Dispatch columnist Bernie Miklasz.
The year before, Wainwright was named the Cardinals’ starter for their March 31, 2008, Opening Day game against the Rockies at St. Louis. He appeared headed for a win when the Cardinals took a 5-1 lead, but the game was called off in the third inning because of rain. Wainwright had retired the last eight batters he faced.
“We were hitting the ball. We were making some good pitches,” he said to Strauss.
The official opener was played the following day, April 1, with Kyle Lohse getting the start.
Chris Carpenter made five Opening Day starts for the Cardinals, the most since Bob Gibson.
Gibson made 10 official Opening Day starts (1965 and 1967 through 1975). He was the starting pitcher for the first game in 1966, too, but it was called because of rain before it could become an official game.