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Wainwright wins first game in Cardinals' victory over Pirates

Tuesday, May 1, 2012 | 11:14 p.m. CDT

ST. LOUIS — Adam Wainwright worked seven solid innings for his first win since September 2010, and the St. Louis Cardinals got big nights at the plate from David Freese and Matt Holliday to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 10-7 on Tuesday.

Freese's sixth home run and third in five games was a tiebreaking, three-run shot off Charlie Morton (1-2) in the fifth. Holliday hit a home run in the sixth off Jared Hughes to cap a three-hit night with two RBIs.

Allen Craig had two hits and an RBI in his season debut after rehabbing from knee surgery performed last fall shortly after he belted three home runs in the World Series. Rafael Furcal had two hits, including his first home run — a two-run shot off Tony Watson in the seventh that made it 10-4.

Wainwright (1-3) was hurt only by the long ball in his fifth start of the season, allowing five hits but giving up two-run home runs to Jose Tabata in the third and Pedro Alvarez in the seventh. The right-hander totaled 39 wins from 2009-10 but missed last season following reconstructive elbow surgery, and became the last member of the rotation to get a win this year.

His previous victory was his 20th of the 2010 season.

In his first four starts, the Cardinals didn't score while Wainwright was in the game. This time, he left with a 7-4 cushion. Wainwright's ERA remains unsightly at 6.75, the highest at any point during his career as a starter, but he's made strides the past two outings, with the Cubs getting one run in six innings April 24.

The Pirates topped five runs, their season best for the first 21 games, for the second straight night after beating Atlanta 9-3 on Monday. But they committed four errors, matching their season worst April 20 also against the Cardinals in a 4-1 loss, leading to four unearned runs.

Tabata ended a 140-at-bat home run drought dating to Aug. 17, 2011, against the Cardinals' Kyle Lohse. Alvarez was the first Pirates player to reach double figures in RBIs with his sixth home run and a run-scoring single giving him 12 on the year. Garret Jones has 10 RBIs after an RBI single off Fernando Salas in the eighth cut the deficit to three.

Jason Motte worked the ninth for his fourth save in five chances.

Plate umpire C.B. Buckner left the game because of illness during a pitching change with one out in the bottom of the seventh and a crew of three finished the game, with second base ump Dan Iassogna moving behind the plate. Buckner briefly went to the St. Louis clubhouse for attention during a break between innings before calling it a night.

Morton was the toughest pitcher to homer against in the majors last season, allowing just six in 171 2/3 innings, with five by left-handed hitters. Freese's sixth of the season was the second in 21 1/3 innings this year, both by right-handed hitters. Ramon Hernandez of Colorado connected in Morton's previous start.

Wainwright has allowed six home runs in 26 2/3 innings, twice as many as anyone else in the rotation. In 2010, he permitted 15 home runs in 230 1/3 innings.

 


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