Cardinals-Braves Preview

Adam Wainwright is doing all he can to regain his rhythm on the mound.

Looking to improve on his opening performance, Wainwright hopes to help the visiting St. Louis Cardinals to a series sweep Sunday by sending the Atlanta Braves to their first 0-5 start in almost three decades.

Making his first start in nearly a year, the right-hander allowed three runs, six hits and walked three over six innings of a 4-1 loss at Pittsburgh last Sunday.

''I certainly got better as I went along,'' Wainwright said. ''But I'm still a little off timing or something, there's something that has not clicked yet. I feel it at times and I know I'm very close to it.

"I'm going to be a lot better than that going forward."

Agitated by the quality of that outing, the two-time 20-game winner made the most of his week off between starts. He had plenty of time to rest, and used video and a mirror to correct some mechanical flaws he discovered from last weekend.

"I was 3/8 an inch off here, two inches off here, which causes the very end of the pitch to be a much different result than you want it to be," Wainwright, who was limited to four starts and seven appearances in 2015 because of an Achilles injury, told MLB's official website.

"There were some things I was doing wrong that were inexcusable. There was some crazy stuff going on with my delivery that was a first for me."

Wainwright, who pitched two scoreless innings in a pair of relief appearances against the Braves in October, last faced them as a starter in May 2014.

St. Louis (2-3) scored seven runs and had 17 hits while being swept by the Pirates, but has totaled 19 and 25 in the first two of this set. In addition to giving up two runs in six innings, starter Carlos Martinez had two RBIs and Kolten Wong recorded three hits in Saturday's 12-2 rout.

''We know that we can hit,'' Wong said. ''It's all about us kind of getting together. Hitting is contagious. Once a couple guys start getting hot, it usually ends up with the whole team hitting. That's good for us.''

After going 0 for 3 in the season opener, Wong is 6 for 15. He's batting .378 with eight runs scored in his last 10 games against the Braves.

The only winless team in the NL, the Braves last dropped their first five in going 0-10 in 1988.

While Atlanta has an 8.00 ERA in this series, it's batted .167 while totaling 10 runs and 21 hits and striking out 35 times in four games. Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis each had a hit with an RBI on Saturday, but are a combined 5 for 27.

''We're not looking real pretty right now in all aspects of the game,'' manager Fredi Gonzalez said.

In his first appearance against the Cardinals, Williams Perez makes his season debut looking to pick up where he left off from going 3-0 with a 2.35 ERA in his final five 2015 starts. The right-hander finished his rookie year 7-6 with a 4.61 ERA in 20 starts.

He allowed one run in 11 2-3 innings to win his last two at Turner Field.

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