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Wainwright proud as Cards' bats pick him up

Ace allows postseason highs in runs, hits over 4 1/3 before huge rally

LOS ANGELES -- There aren't many times when Adam Wainwright needs to lean on his offense for support, but Friday night was one of them.

The Cardinals ace was knocked around by the Dodgers for six runs and 11 hits in Game 1 of the National League Division Series. The Cardinals' chances appeared bleak until they put up an eight-run seventh inning against Clayton Kershaw and Pedro Baez, eventually hanging on for a 10-9 victory.

"I stunk, and those guys just completely picked me up. It was unbelievable," Wainwright said. "I was so proud. I was in there watching those guys that never quit and just kept chipping away at the toughest pitcher out there."

Despite pitching at least six innings in all but four of his regular-season starts, Wainwright lasted just 4 1/3 innings Friday. He allowed two runs each in the third, fourth and fifth innings and was chased from the game by A.J. Ellis' two-run homer.

"It was terrible; it was not good," Wainwright said of his performance. "I was under the ball most of the day, just very flat fastballs. Terrible fastball command, and I think they, somewhere along the line, figured out that I wasn't locating my fastball and they sat on the slower stuff out over the plate. Usually I'm much tougher because they don't know exactly what's coming. And tonight they had a much better idea."

The 11 hits he allowed were the most he's ever given up in a playoff game, and the six earned runs also tied his postseason career high.

"[It] looked like he was really having trouble timing up his legs," manager Mike Matheny said. "He was getting a little jumpy and the ball was sailing high in the zone, and that's not how he operates. His curveball was very good, he had to go to it a couple of times, probably a lot more than what he wanted to.

"If he's able to locate in the bottom part of the zone and the corners like he has most of the season, he's going to have lower pitch counts, and you're going to see less damage. But he was just trying to fight with less than his best stuff."

The start was Wainwright's worst in the postseason since Game 5 of the 2012 NLDS against Washington. He allowed six earned runs on seven hits (three homers) in just 2 1/3 innings. The Cardinals also rallied to win that game, 9-7.

Wainwright insisted after the game that if he does wind up pitching against the Dodgers in this series again, it will be a very different kind of performance.

"I would love to know what the Vegas odds were on this game being a 10-9 game," Wainwright said. "But I expect that if I pitch against this team again, hopefully I don't, but I expect that if I do, it would be a much different sort of score."

Chad Thornburg is a reporter for
Read More: St. Louis Cardinals, Adam Wainwright