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Wainwright settles down after rocky 1st inning

Veteran righty takes step forward as pitch count increases
Special to MLB.com

JUPITER, Fla. -- Adam Wainwright worked four effective innings, allowing just one run on four hits in Sunday's 9-9 tie with the Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium. He walked two and struck out three. Wainwright threw 58 pitches, 36 of those for strikes in his third Grapefruit League start.

"I was happy; it was a good step forward for me, with my pitch count going up a little bit," Wainwright said. "With my pitches, I kind of sequenced things a little bit better today. I worked in pitches I wouldn't normally, and I kind of liked it. So we'll see, I'm having fun pitching out there."

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JUPITER, Fla. -- Adam Wainwright worked four effective innings, allowing just one run on four hits in Sunday's 9-9 tie with the Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium. He walked two and struck out three. Wainwright threw 58 pitches, 36 of those for strikes in his third Grapefruit League start.

"I was happy; it was a good step forward for me, with my pitch count going up a little bit," Wainwright said. "With my pitches, I kind of sequenced things a little bit better today. I worked in pitches I wouldn't normally, and I kind of liked it. So we'll see, I'm having fun pitching out there."

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Recording a couple of strikeouts with the curveball, Wainwright said he's glad to add an effective one back into his repertoire.

"The grip seems to be pretty important," he said. "My breaking ball has that good spin on it that I really like. That last little dive at the end is the swing and miss. That's what I was missing last year. It's cool to have it back."

He escaped a rocky first inning with minimal damage, allowing a run on two hits and one walk, then faced the minimum over the next two innings, erasing an Ichiro Suzuki single with a 5-4-3 double play.

The Cardinals rallied for three runs in the top of the fourth, and the long inning seemed to disrupt Wainwright's rhythm. He walked Marlins first baseman Justin Bour to lead off the fourth inning and yielded a one-out single before settling back into it.

"I hate walking the leadoff guy after a long inning," Wainwright said. "But it's good practice for me because my offense gives me a chance to have those long sits in the dugout. I appreciate as many of those as I can get. But it's good practice because you can't replicate that. Even that was good practice."

Wainwright worked out of the inning, retiring the next two batters and now looks forward to three more Grapefruit League starts in which he plans on continuing to increase his pitch count in preparation for the 2017 season.

Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the Cardinals on Sunday.

St. Louis Cardinals, Adam Wainwright