Seeking his first win in almost a month, Adam Wainwright surely likes his chances of getting back on track at Wrigley Field.
The Chicago Cubs' Travis Wood, meanwhile, can't seem to get things going at home.
Wainwright and Wood square off as the St. Louis Cardinals continue a three-game set against the Cubs on Saturday.
Since going 6-0 with a 1.80 ERA over a seven-start stretch July 24-Aug. 26, Wainwright has posted an 0-3 record and 6.86 ERA over his last four outings. He showed signs of coming around, though, during Sunday's 5-2, 12-inning win at Los Angeles, giving up two runs and five hits over six innings.
If his recent efforts at Wrigley are any indication, Wainwright (13-13, 3.97 ERA) could take another step in the right direction. The right-hander is 5-0 with a 2.66 ERA in his last seven road starts versus the Cubs (59-92), a stretch during which he's struck out 43 in 44 innings.
Wainwright yielded a career worst-tying eight earned runs over three innings of a 9-5 loss to Chicago on April 13 before recording a 2.25 ERA in his two most recent matchups - both on the road.
No one on the Cubs has faced Wainwright more than Alfonso Soriano, who's gone 9 for 36 with 10 strikeouts in their matchups. David DeJesus is 8 for 19 with a homer against him, and he also proved to be a difficult out Friday during Chicago's 5-4 win.
The outfielder collected a career best-tying four hits, including the game-winning RBI single in the 11th inning.
The Cardinals (80-71) found themselves on the verge of a fifth consecutive win before Darwin Barney - batting .425 over his last 11 games - hit a game-tying two-run homer with two outs in the ninth off Fernando Salas, who was trying to get the save with closer Jason Motte unavailable after pitching three straight days.
"We got to a two-run lead with two strikes in the ninth, but wouldn't finish it off," manager Mike Matheny said. "... (Salas has) been very, very good for us lately and he's been in that situation before so it's a good fit."
Sitting in the second NL wild-card spot with a 1 1/2-game lead over Milwaukee, the Cardinals have lost three in a row at Chicago for the first time since a seven-game skid in 2006.
They'll try to bounce back against Wood (6-12, 4.25), who hasn't enjoyed much recent success at Wrigley. He struck out a career-high nine but gave up three runs in 5 2-3 innings during Monday's 3-0 loss to Pittsburgh, dropping to 0-5 with a 6.08 ERA over his last seven home outings.
Wood also fell to 2-9 with a 5.21 ERA since the All-Star break, giving him the most losses in the NL over that stretch.
The left-hander can't be looking forward to another matchup versus St. Louis after getting shelled in both meetings this season. He yielded seven runs in six innings during a 7-0 road loss July 22, then surrendered eight runs and a career-worst five homers in five innings of a 9-6 home defeat five days later.
Yadier Molina and Matt Holliday are a combined 9 for 27 against Wood, each taking him deep twice.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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