The Norman Transcript

National Sports

September 3, 2013

Cardinals collapse, fall a game back from Pirates

CINCINNATI — Adam Wainwright doesn’t really understand what’s going on with him and the Reds.

For the second start in a row, the Cardinals’ top starter went to the mound looking to get his 16th victory and instead ended up just trying to make it through a few innings. Shin-Soo Choo and Joey Votto homered off him on Monday, leading Cincinnati to a 7-2 victory.

It felt as puzzling as it appeared.

“The last time, it was a matter of me leaving too many balls in the middle of the plate,” Wainwright said. “Today, they hit some good pitches. I feel very strong. I’ve had some good games against them in the past. It’s a head-scratcher, to be honest with you.”

The third-place Reds are trying to break the Cardinals’ season-long dominance. St. Louis has won the last seven series between the teams. The Cardinals are 10-6 against Cincinnati this year.

The Cardinals took two of three in St. Louis last week, the only loss coming when the Reds tagged Wainwright (15-9) for nine runs in a career-low two innings. They had his number again on Monday, piling up six runs and 10 hits in six innings.

What’s going on here?

“He’s searching right now,” manager Mike Matheny said. “He doesn’t have the same feel he had earlier. As he went on today, he got better. His breaking ball had more bite.”

Even the Reds seemed a bit surprised by their back-to-back drubbings of the Cardinals’ top starter.

“That’s a real good pitcher,” manager Dusty Baker said. “We have nothing but respect for Wainwright. He’s not the guy that you would exactly choose to face twice a week. It’s a funny game.”

Mat Latos (14-5) allowed only four hits while going the distance for the first time this season. He gave up a pair of singles and a sacrifice fly by Matt Holliday in his fourth career complete game.

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