ST. LOUIS (AP) — Adam Wainwright had been the hottest pitcher in baseball going into Friday night's game against San Francisco.
He entered with a scoreless streak of 20 innings and a major league-leading 1.67 ERA. But the St. Louis ace was no match for the Giants, who tagged him for seven runs and eight hits in the Cardinals' 9-4 loss.
"The knee-jerk reaction is to look at this game and think you've wasted a lot of good starts with one game," said Wainwright, whose ERA jumped to 2.32. "But that's exactly what it is, one game.
"I'm in a very good place where I am right now. I just go to flush this one and move on to the next."
Wainwright (8-3) said he noticed he wasn't quite himself. But he was unable to come up with a fix while he was out on the mound.
"There's days when you feel something a tick off and you can make an adjustment very fast," said Wainwright, who lasted 4 1-3 innings. "Today, I thought there was couple of things going on out there mechanically, and no matter what I tried to do, my normal checkpoints to correct things like that, they just weren't working."
San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy was surprised by his team's offensive output against Wainwright.
"I'm sure he wasn't quite as sharp," Bochy said. "It's the only way you can really score runs off him, that's how good he is. Watching his games, he's been unbelievable hitting his spots. He made a few mistakes and we took advantage of them."
Madison Bumgarner struck out 10 in seven scoreless innings and Hunter Pence hit a three-run homer off Wainwright.
Bumgarner (7-3) allowed three hits and matched a season high for strikeouts set in his previous start against Minnesota. He walked one.
San Francisco has won eight of nine and owns the best record in the majors at 36-19.
Pence had two hits and scored twice. Pablo Sandoval extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a single and a double, but his run of nine straight games with an RBI was snapped.
Hector Sanchez and Gregor Blanco each had a two-run single for the Giants, who scored seven runs with two outs. San Francisco has scored 117 runs with two outs, tops in the big leagues.