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Cardinals vs. Nationals: Adam Wainwright strikes out 10 in 2nd playoff appearance since 2006

Adam Wainwright has pitched in just two postseason games since 2006, when he emerged as the St. Louis Cardinals' untouchable closer in their improbable World Series run. In 2009 he lost a heartbreaker against the Dodgers, going eight innings and allowing a run. In 2012, his first start since, he struck out 10 Washington Nationals in 5.2 innings and left with the lead.

Wainwright wasn't perfect; he walked three and allowed six hits, and with two on and two out he was pulled for Lance Lynn, who walked Roger Bernadina before striking out Jayson Werth to end the bases-loaded threat. But he was excellent, and the break on his curveball and the velocity of his fastball suggested that the Cardinals have nothing to worry about if he's to lead them deep into the postseason.

And he outpitched Gio Gonzalez, who allowed two runs in the middle of a no-hitter and walked seven but somehow escaped with just those two allowed. The Cardinals will have to add some runs before anybody feels very secure about this lead, but Adam Wainwright leaves the game having done his job. In 2006 he was the last thing standing between the Cardinals and a victory; in 2012 as in 2009 he'll have to watch from the dugout as the Cardinals try to hold on.