This time, Adam Wainwright left little doubt he should stay on the mound and keep pitching.
Manager Mike Matheny let him go, even when things became a bit dicey in the eighth.
Wainwright tossed a five-hitter to become the NL’s second 11-game winner, Philipsburg native Matt Adams had his first two-homer game, and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Oakland Athletics 7-1 Saturday.
Adams hit a three-run homer to highlight a four-run sixth and a solo shot in the eighth.
Matheny describes his unique “lofting power.”
“I just use my size and leverage,” said Adams, who is 6-foot-3 and 260 pounds. “I don’t swing too hard. I get in trouble if I over-swing.”
Wainwright (11-5) tied Washington’s Jordan Zimmerman for most wins in the NL. He struck out eight and walked two in a 112-pitch performance for his fourth complete game this year and 15th of his career.
“I came out very focused and executed my plan for the most part,” he said. “I had the two late walks that kind of chapped me. Any time you’re going late in the game like that giving yourself a chance to win, your team a chance to win, that’s what you want. Every starter’s goal is when you start the game to throw the last pitch of the game, too.”
Wainwright appeared to have no issues Saturday after objecting to manager Mike Matheny’s decision to pull him after 6 2-3 innings in a loss to Texas last Sunday. When Wainwright got into an eighth-inning jam and gave up Josh Reddick’s RBI single, Matheny stuck with him — and might have still if another batter had reached. They would have at least had a conversation about it.
“He was laboring from the first, and you can tell him I said that,” Matheny joked Saturday, repeating his words from last week that fired up the pitcher.
To which Wainwright offered: “Yeah, I was laboring. Laboring means working, right? I was working.”
Wainwright knew how well the A’s have been playing at home, and became determined to slow down the reigning AL West champions. With his signature, moving curveball, he kept them off-balance all day.
“He had everything,” Matheny said. “Mainly, he was very good at locating the fastball and using the curveball in different ways, different speeds, different breaks and making big pitches when he needed to.”
What appeared a pitcher’s duel in the making changed quickly when A’s starter Jarrod Parker left in the fourth inning with tightness in his right hamstring on an unusually hot Bay Area afternoon.
Parker will be re-evaluated Sunday.
“He wanted to try to finish the inning but he still felt it,” manager Bob Melvin said. “It’s not a prudent thing to do. The unfortunate thing was that might have been as good as stuff as he’s had all year. Had a great changeup, had great velocity on the fastball, good movement, good slider. We might have been here a while had that not happened.”
Daniel Descalso broke a scoreless tie with a sacrifice fly in the fifth, and the Cardinals gave Wainwright plenty of support to take sole possession of the team lead in wins ahead of Lance Lynn’s 10.
After a 1-2-3 first inning on nine pitches, Wainwright was on his way. A’s No. 9 hitter Derek Norris singled with two outs in the third for the first hit off Wainwright, who snapped a two-start skid.
Wainwright got through the seventh on seven pitches. The right-hander faced the A’s for just the second time in his career after beating Oakland on June 19, 2010, in St. Louis while allowing one earned run in eight innings.
He had a career-high five complete games in 2010, and is now one away from that.
A sold-out Coliseum crowd of 35,067 braved the hot temperatures to watch Wainwright keep the A’s batters off balance — they didn’t get a three-ball count until Coco Crisp walked in the eighth as the 28th hitter of the game. Wainwright threw 21 of his pitches that inning.
While the first-pitch temperature was an A’s season-high 84 degrees, Matheny is loving the lively atmosphere this series.
“It reminds me of the Dominican and Puerto Rico, a lot of drums and excitement,” he said.
Parker went down after grabbing his right hamstring and stretching for several minutes with athletic trainer Nick Paparesta before throwing some warmup pitches. Jesse Chavez relieved.
“Tomorrow will be a better idea of what I’ve got,” Parker said. “I’ve just been building on outings prior, and today everything was working good early.”
Chavez (1-2), who pitched 5 2-3 scoreless innings of relief for victory in an 18-inning win against the Yankees on June 13, was done after 1 1-3 innings this time. Carlos Beltran doubled starting the sixth, and Allen Craig followed with a single to chase Chavez.
Jerry Blevins surrendered an RBI single to Matt Holliday, then Adams’ first-pitch homer that broke open the game.
Holliday faced repeated boos while in left field and at the plate from his former fans. He briefly played for the A’s in 2009, all of 93 games.
Notes: The Cardinals are sticking with rookie Shelby Miller on schedule despite his struggles. “He’s going to go back out there and do what he was doing,” Matheny said. ... A’s C John Jaso missed his seventh straight start with a cut on his left hand. ... A’s C Stephen Vogt received 100-plus text messages in addition to greetings on Facebook and Twitter after his first major league hit — and home run — Friday night ended an 0-for-33 start. “It’s really neat to get everybody’s support,” he said. ... Umpires received water between innings. ... Wainwright is 8-5 in interleague play. ... LHP Tommy Milone looks to snap a four-start winless stretch with his first win since June 3 in Sunday’s finale against St. Louis RHP Jake Westbrook.