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The Strike Zone

Adam Wainwright tosses first career one-hitter in best pitching performance of season

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Adam Wainwright turned in what was arguably the best pitching performance of the 2014 season in St. Louis Tuesday night, shutting out the Arizona Diamondbacks on one hit while striking out nine and not allowing another baserunner of any kind. Before Tuesday night, just one pitcher, the Marlins' Henderson Alvarez, had completed a game while facing just one more than the minimum 27 batters. Just one pitcher had competed a one-hitter, that being the PadresAndrew Cashner, who also recorded the season's top game score in that 11-strikeout, one-hitter against the Tigers on April 11. Wainwright matched both in a single outing, facing 28 men and recording a game score of 94 in what was the first one-hitter of his impressive career.

The one hit Wainwright allowed was a two-out double by Paul Goldschmidt in the top of the fourth inning. He had retired the first 11 batters before that hit, and retired the final 16  after it. Not only did Wainwright not walk a batter in the game, he didn't go to a three-ball count until there were two outs in the seventh and only had two such counts all game as he threw three quarters of his 115 pitches for strikes.

The shutout was Wainwright's second of the season, making him just the fifth pitcher to throw two shutouts this year, joining Alvarez, Johnny Cueto, the injured Martin Perez and Julio Teheran, who also threw his second Tuesday night against the Brewers. The game was also the fifth of Wainwright's 10 starts this season in which he pitched seven or more innings and did not allow a run.

The combination of that performance and Johnny Cueto's poor outing against the Nationals, which owed a great deal to shoddy fielding and bad luck, allowed Wainwright to slip into second place in the National League in ERA with a 1.85 mark, barely lower than Cueto's now 1.86 and just two points behind AL leader Max Scherzer. (Jeff Samardzija is the NL's leader, with 1.62). Wainwright is also third in the majors in WHIP (0.86) and second in innings pitched (behind Cueto) having averaged 7 1/3 innings pitched per start on the season.

The 5-0 win was the Cardinals' fifth in their last six games and moved them to within 2 1/2 games of the first-place Brewers. St. Louis will send Michael Wacha (3-3, 2.82) to the mound Wednesday night to keep its surge going.
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