May 08, 2014

NEW YORK -- The St. Louis Cardinals were disappointed that a long day did not result in them shaking hands twice following wins.

They hope Adam Wainwright gives them a reason for handshakes.

After getting a split of Tuesday's doubleheader, Wainwright will be on the mound when the Cardinals conclude their three-game series with the New York Mets.

St. Louis had decent enough pitching Tuesday as Carlos Martinez and Jaime Garcia each allowed two earned runs in five innings. Other than Jedd Gyorko their offense went cold, especially in the second game when the Cardinals struck out 12 times and had four hits off Bartolo Colon and two relievers in a 3-1 loss in the nightcap.

"I don't think of it as a split, I think of it as a lost game right there," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. "We already shook hands on the one earlier, it's a whole new game. We don't like losing any game, ever."

Wainwright will be entrusted with helping the Cardinals win the first series of their 10-game road trip.

Wainwright leads the majors with a 0.93 ERA this month, allowing three runs in 29 innings. He also has not a home run in his last 60 2/3 innings, going back to when Ryan Zimmerman homered off him May 28.

If Wainwright can pitch seven more innings without allowing a home run, it will surpass the longest streak of his career. From Sept. 7, 2014-April 3, he had 67 innings without doing so.

Wainwright last pitched in Thursday's 6-5 win over San Diego and did not get a decision after allowing two runs and seven hits in six innings as his teammates rallied from a 5-1 deficit. Although he did not get a decision, the Cardinals are 13-3 in his last 16 starts.

Besides Wainwright's success this month, he is 51-28 with a 3.01 ERA after the All-Star break. His .646 winning percentage is third among active pitchers behind Clayton Kershaw and David Price while his ERA ranks behind Kershaw and Cole Hamels.

The right-hander has actually struggled against the Mets, although he struck out Carlos Beltran to send the Cardinals to the 2006 World Series. Wainwright is 3-4 with a 5.13 ERA in nine appearances (seven starts) against New York and his ERA is the third-highest amongst active pitchers against the Mets behind Vance Worley and Chris Capuano.

He last faced the Mets April 22, 2014 in New York when he allowed four hits in seven innings during a 3-0 win.

Wainwright will be hoping to get some support from the home run. The Cardinals have 138 home runs and have homered in 17 straight games, two shy of the 2006 club record.

"Up and down the lineup you got guys who can on any given night go out and hit the ball over the fence," Gyorko said. "That's a luxury to have, that any guy in the lineup can change a game."

The Mets have won 10 of their last 15 home games and trail Washington by 4 1/2 games in the NL East and Miami by a half-game in the wild card race.

"This is crunch time," New York manager Terry Collins said. Say whatever you want, this is the time where we gotta win games, string them together, win eight out of 10, I don't care what you say, we gotta win games. This is when the good teams win them."

Logan Verrett will make his first career start against the Cardinals. He is 3-6 with a 4.14 ERA and 1-4 with a 4.97 ERA as a starting pitcher.

He is in the rotation due to Matt Harvey's absence and has lost his last six decisions. He last pitched Friday in a 5-3 victory at Miami and allowed two runs and four hits in 5 1/3 innings of a no-decision.

The Mets will be without third baseman Jose Reyes for the next few days. He sustained a Grade 1 intercostal strain on his final swing of the 3-2 loss in the opener.

Wilmer Flores, who had three hits in the nightcap, will start at third base until Reyes returns. Flores is batting .340 (17-for-50) in 17 games this month.

"He's done a great job," Collins said.

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