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Confident at plate, Waino makes Marlins pay

MLB.com

ST. LOUIS -- When most people think of Adam Wainwright, it's not his abilities at the plate that first come to mind. But his performance on Monday night in the Cardinals' 14-6 win over the Marlins at Busch Stadium made a good case for why his batting ability should not be overlooked.

After striking out in his first at-bat, Wainwright was up again in the third with one out and the bases loaded. The Marlins had purposely chosen to face him.

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ST. LOUIS -- When most people think of Adam Wainwright, it's not his abilities at the plate that first come to mind. But his performance on Monday night in the Cardinals' 14-6 win over the Marlins at Busch Stadium made a good case for why his batting ability should not be overlooked.

After striking out in his first at-bat, Wainwright was up again in the third with one out and the bases loaded. The Marlins had purposely chosen to face him.

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"Yeah, I did [take the walk personally]," Wainwright said. "I felt like I was going to get a hit as soon as he put him on, I felt like I had to hit it, hadn't hit in a few at-bats. It's about the right time."

He hit a two-run single that ultimately led the way to a seven-run third inning that ended Marlins starter Jeff Locke's night in 2 2/3 innings. With the Cardinals ahead, 5-0, the Marlins intentionally walked Paul DeJong, assuming the right-hander was an attainable out for Locke. Instead, Wainwright singled on a line drive to center field to bring in both Yadier Molina and Luke Voit.

"Adam is a great force at the plate. It puts them in a tough spot," manager Mike Matheny said. "I'd prefer to do the same thing when you have an opportunity to get around that eight spot to put the pressure on the pitcher. Adam has come through a number of times now."

Wainwright's offensive success has seen an uptick in his last two seasons after changing the way he batted prior to last season. In 2014, he was slugging just .222, but over the past two years his slugging percentage (.452) is the highest in the Majors among pitchers.

"It's something that I've taken very seriously and changed my approach before the beginning of last season," Wainwright said. "I wish I had done that years ago, I might be a hitter right now if I had done that about 12 years ago.

"But I feel very confident up at the plate. As a pitcher you just know if you're competitive up there ... you're making it a lot tougher on that other pitcher. So for my job, if I can actually drive some runs in, maybe pop a homer every now and then, your odds of winning go way, way up."

His recent numbers have made him one of the best hitting pitchers in the Major Leagues. He leads all active MLB pitchers in career hits (122), RBIs (64), doubles (33) and extra-base hits (45). He has nine RBIs and seven hits this year and is still looking to match last season's 13 hits, seven doubles and 18 RBIs.

Video: MIA@STL: Wainwright strikes out Stanton

As for the pitching part of his performance on Monday, Wainwright was strong through four, but faltered in his last inning. He had not given up a run until the fifth, when the Marlins exploded for six, making the Cardinals' offensive performance in the third inning that much more vital. He did finish, however, with eight strikeouts, including the three times he faced Giancarlo Stanton, tying his second highest total of the season.

"I had good stuff tonight, I had that one terrible inning. You could take three innings away from my season, I'd be a three ERA guy," Wainwright said. "I apparently like sabotaging my own stats, so a win's a win, and we'll take it however we can get it."

Alaina Getzenberg is a reporter for MLB.com.

St. Louis Cardinals, Adam Wainwright