(Sports Network) - St. Louis Cardinals co-ace Adam Wainwright looks to resuscitate his team's playoff hopes when he takes the mound Tuesday in the second test of a three-game series versus the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium.
Wainwright will try to become the National League's first 19-game winner and pull the Cardinals out of their current funk. The Cards have dropped three of four and five of their last seven games and could use a solid performance on the hill tonight from Wainwright, who ended a personal four-game slide his last time out on Thursday at Atlanta.
The right-hander held the Braves to three runs in seven innings of an 11-4 rout at Turner Field, improving to 18-10 with a 2.38 earned run average in 30 starts. Wainwright won a career-high 19 games a season ago and will take on the Cubs for a second time in 2010. He beat them back on May 30 in a 9-1 triumph and fired seven innings of one-run ball with eight strikeouts.
In 21 career games (12 starts) against Chicago, Wainwright is 5-3 with a 4.13 ERA.
St. Louis suffered a 5-1 loss to the Cubs in last night's season opener and starter Jaime Garcia was saddled with the defeat for giving up four runs -- two earned -- and seven hits in six innings. Matt Holliday had two hits and knocked in the only run for the Cardinals, who fell seven games behind Cincinnati for the NL Central lead. The Reds beat Arizona last night.
"We've had the same attitude all year long, It's not something you turn on or turn off," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "We've been trying to win the series every series we play. Sometimes you're successful, but lately we haven't been."
Lately the Cubs have been experiencing success, and the team recorded its third victory in four attempts last night behind 5 2/3 shutout innings from starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija. He did walk four batters and allowed six hits, but was backed by just enough offense for the win.
"It was definitely the hard way to do it, a couple too many walks in there," Samardzija said after his third career start. "I'm really happy how I battled, not being up (in the majors) all year."
Geovany Soto had three hits and an RBI and Alfonso Soriano drove in a pair of runs for the Cubs, who managed to outhit the Cardinals by a 10-9 difference.
Randy Wells draws the start for the Cubs tonight, and he's only 1-6 with a 5.85 earned run average in his last nine starts. Wells was last in action on Wednesday in a 4-0 defeat versus Houston, as he permitted four runs and nine hits in six innings of work.
Wells, who fell to 6-13 with a 4.61 ERA in 29 starts, defeated St. Louis back on July 23 with seven scoreless innings in a 5-0 victory. The righty is only 1-2 in four career matchups (3 starts) with the Cardinals, however.
The 2010 season series between Chicago and St. Louis is tied at five games apiece. The Cubs have won their past three contests against the Cardinals.