ST. LOUIS — Adam Wainwright earned his 19th victory in a tuneup for the NL division series opener and the St. Louis Cardinals showed no letup after clinching the NL Central, beating the Chicago Cubs 6-2 Saturday for their fifth straight win.
Matt Holliday homered for the second day in a row and Yadier Molina drove in two runs for St. Louis (96-65), which entered the day tied with Atlanta for the NL lead in wins.
The start time was moved up three hours to avoid a forecast of later storms. The Cardinals mailed vouchers to all ticket holders, whether they attended or not, for a game in 2014. The crowd of 42,520 was a few thousand shy of a sellout.
Wainwright (19-9) allowed two hits in shutout 5 1-3 innings and tied for the league lead in victories with Washington’s Jordan Zimmermann, who lost his last scheduled start Wednesday in St. Louis.
According to STATS, Wainwright is the third Cardinals pitcher to lead the league in victories twice, also doing it with 19 wins in 2009.
Dizzy Dean (1934-35) and Mort Cooper (1942-43) are the other Cardinals pitchers to twice lead the league in wins. Bob Gibson did it once.
The Cubs averted a second straight shutout loss by scoring twice in the ninth against former St. Louis closer Edward Mujica.
Anthony Rizzo led off with a homer and Donnie Murphy had an RBI double against Mujica, who has allowed 18 hits in 7 1-3 innings with two blown saves this month and lost his job to rookie Trevor Rosenthal.
Seth Maness earned his first career save by getting Darwin Barney on a double-play ball.
Edwin Jackson (8-18) was tagged for six runs on eight hits in 2 2-3 innings before leaving with mild side discomfort. He leads the majors in losses.
The Cubs have lost 11 of 14, scoring two or fewer runs nine times in that stretch.
Wainwright got his sixth RBI of the season with a single off third baseman Donnie Murphy’s glove in a four-run third.
Wainwright entered 1-6 with a 5.16 ERA at home against the Cubs. He’s 6-0 with a 3.72 ERA at Wrigley Field.
Holliday hit his 22nd homer, a two-run drive in the first. The Cardinals broke away in the third when Holliday and Matt Adams drew one-out walks ahead of Molina’s two-run double, and Pete Kozma had an RBI single.
NOTES: The Cardinals are holding Joe Kelly for the postseason and giving Jake Westbrook (7-8, 4.67) a spot start in the season finale against Jeff Samardzija (8-12, 4.33). ... Molina has four hits and five RBIs in the first two games of the series, giving him a team-leading 16 RBIs against the Cubs. ... According to STATS, Jackson is among five pitchers since 2000 to throw a no-hitter and later lose 17 or more games. Also on the list are Ubaldo Jimenez last year, Derek Lowe in 2011 and Justin Verlander in 2008, all with 17 losses.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.