PHOENIX (AP) The pitcher's spot in the order came up with the bases loaded in the fifth inning, a critical juncture in what had been a close game.
St. Louis manager Mike Matheny never had a doubt what he would do. He was going to send Adam Wainwright up there, not just to give him a chance to get a hit, but so he could continue pitching.
The move couldn't have worked out better.
Wainwright pitched into the sixth inning for his first win and hit a three-run triple in St. Louis' biggest inning of the season, lifting the Cardinals to an 11-4 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday night.
''There were some guys who might have wanted some back and forth, but he was hitting there,'' Matheny said. ''I made up my mind before we even got to that.''
St. Louis scored 18 combined runs in two games to close out a sweep over San Diego and had 15 in splitting the first two against Arizona.
The Cardinals kept bashing, knocking around Patrick Corbin (1-3) and finishing with 14 hits, four by Stephen Piscotty.
Aledmys Diaz homered, scored three runs and had two RBIs for the Cardinals, who have won four of five. Piscotty, Matt Carpenter and Matt Holiday also drove in two runs each.
Wainwright (1-3) gave up homers to Brandon Drury and Paul Goldschmidt but ended his worst start since 2012 behind the Cardinals' big run support. He allowed four runs on seven hits and struck out five in 5 1/3 innings.
Wainwright also knows how to handle a bat and came through with the game's biggest hit, lining his second career triple during the Cardinals' five-run fifth.
''I felt like when I went up to the plate, that was the game,'' Wainwright said. ''If I was able to put something across positive there, it was going to help us win that game. Luckily, I was able to get a good pitch to hit there and my speed carried me to third.''
Wainwright has struggled since missing most of last season with an Achilles tendon injury, in part because of an inability to miss bats.
The two-time NL Cy Young Award runner up failed to strike out more than three batters in four straight starts for the first time since 2007. Wainwright, who has never had an ERA over 4.00 in a full season, has allowed at least three runs in every start this season and entered Wednesday's game with a 7.25 ERA.
Drury certainly didn't miss a hanging curveball by Wainwright in the second inning, lining it over the left field wall for a two-run homer.
Goldschmidt hit a ball even harder in the fourth inning, sending a towering solo homer to the deepest part of the park to put Arizona up 3-1.
Wainwright settled in after that, hitting his spots better than he had in his previous four outings while limiting the Diamondbacks' scoring opportunities.
''We had our chances but one of the things we have to be very careful with our offense is we're standing out there on defense for so long,'' Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale said. ''When you're standing out there for so long it's tough to come in and hit, especially the way the St. Louis pitchers are coming after us.''
Corbin was the cause.
The left-hander limited the Cardinals to a run after scuffling in the first inning but couldn't make it out of the sixth. St. Louis scored five runs in the inning - highlighted by Wainwright's three-run triple - to take a 7-3 lead.
Corbin allowed seven runs on seven hits and walked five in 5 2/3 innings.
''I felt like I was around the plate,'' Corbin said. ''Some close pitches that just didn't go our way. Just trying to stay down in the zone and mix things up, but five walks is too many.''
Arizona's Jean Segura went 2 for 5 for his 11th multihit game, most in the majors. ... The Cardinals have homered in seven consecutive games. ... Goldschmidt's last three hits have been home runs. ... Wainwright hit the first bases-loaded triple by a pitcher since Corbin on Sept. 16, 2012.
Diamondbacks: RHP Josh Collmenter (shoulder) is scheduled to pitch in an extended spring training game on Thursday before going to Class A Visalia on a rehab assignment.
Cardinals: Holliday was back in the lineup after leaving Tuesday's game with leg cramps.
Cardinals: RHP Michael Wacha is 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA in his last three starts headed into Thursday's series finale.
Diamondbacks: RHP Rubby De La Rosa has allowed one hit by a right-hander in their last 19 at-bats against him headed into Thursday's start against the Cardinals.