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Cardinals count on Wainwright to avoid sweep by Giants

ST. LOUIS -- If the St. Louis Cardinals are to salvage the final game of what looked like a promising homestand just a few days ago, they will have to do what they have done for years: rely on Adam Wainwright.

The veteran right-hander takes the mound Sunday for the series finale against the San Francisco Giants fresh off the best game of his season, one that the Cardinals hope he can duplicate so that they can stop a season-high, four-game losing streak.

Wainwright (3-3, 5.31 ERA) blanked the Chicago Cubs on May 14 for seven innings, allowing just five hits and four walks while striking out three in a 5-0 victory. It was the first time this season he had finished the seventh inning and also marked his third consecutive win.

It was one of 26 quality starts in the first 40 games for the St. Louis rotation. Problem is, even though the Cardinals have quality starts in all seven games on the homestand, they are 2-5 and have slipped to 21-19 for the year.

That includes a 3-1, 13-inning defeat to San Francisco on Saturday night, when the Cardinals wasted a brilliant outing by Carlos Martinez. In the first nine-inning performance of his major league career, Martinez permitted just two hits and a walk while striking out five.

Martinez threw only 93 pitches, 65 for strikes, but St. Louis was unable to solve Jeff Samardzija over eight innings. Eventually, the Giants (19-25) won a bullpen battle.

"He had it all tonight," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of Martinez. "It was just a shame we couldn't do anything with it."

Matheny will hope that St. Louis can figure out a way to solve San Francisco starter Matt Cain, something the Cardinals have done with regularity in his career. Cain (3-1, 4.04 ERA) has been shelled consistently in Busch Stadium, pitching to a 7.62 ERA there in his career. He is 2-5 with a 6.19 ERA in 12 career games against the Cardinals.

Cain is coming off an 8-4 win Monday night over the Los Angeles Dodgers at AT&T Park, where he allowed just one run on five hits and three walks over six innings, striking out five. Cain also reached 2,000 career innings, becoming the 12th pitcher in franchise history to accomplish that feat.

Wainwright has pitched well for most of his career against the Giants, although he has a losing record in 14 career appearances, going 5-7 with a 3.27 ERA.

San Francisco enters the Sunday game with a chance to pull off its first road sweep of the year. The Giants are only 8-15 away from the Bay Area.

Rookie third baseman Christian Arroyo notched the big hit Saturday, a two-run double with the bases loaded that broke the scoreless tie. It was one of the biggest moments in the first 25 games of Arroyo's career, which have shown some promise despite a .221 average and 23 strikeouts in 95 at-bats.

"I'm still adjusting and learning," he said. "The big thing is winning games. It's not about me, it's about this team and helping it win."

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