ST. LOUIS (AP) — Adam Wainwright was so excited after throwing a shutout for the St. Louis Cardinals, he acknowledged he got emotional.
"It was a huge sense of relief," Wainwright said. "A huge sense of feeling blessed. I've worked very hard to get back to where I am.
"I told Jake (Westbrook) I think it might be the best feeling I've ever had pitching. I've done some things that are pretty fun but I can't remember ever feeling that emotional after a game."
Wainwright threw a four-hitter and the Cardinals beat the San Diego Padres 4-0 on Tuesday night.
"All of the emotion came from just knowing it's been over a year since I've done that," Wainwright said. "Mentally, I was so much better."
It was his first shutout victory since Aug. 6, 2010, and third in his career. Wainwright (3-5), who missed 2011 with elbow ligament replacement surgery, struck out nine and walked one while throwing 111 pitches. He retired the first eight batters and allowed just one runner to reach third base.
"I think all of the emotion came from just knowing it's been over a year since I've felt really locked in like that," Wainwright said. "I was locked in all night. I knew I could do it. I knew I would do it. This year, it started rough for me but I knew if I kept grinding, it would come back to me."
St. Louis manager Mike Matheny was happy to see it.
"It's nice to have that kind of outing from start to finish," Matheny said. "It's one he can build on. He believes in himself and rightfully so. He's accomplished a lot in this game."
San Diego manager Bud Black agreed.
"I just saw an up-tempo guy with a tremendous amount of focus of getting guys out," Black said. "As the game went on, that didn't waver. He pitched a good game."
Carlos Beltran had two hits and two RBIs and Matt Holliday added two hits and an RBI for the Cardinals.
Edinson Volquez (2-4) gave up five hits and three runs in six innings. The former Cincinnati Red remains winless in St. Louis. He is 0-3 in four career starts at Busch Stadium with a 6.50 ERA.
St. Louis took a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Matt Carpenter hit a double to left field and appeared to hurt himself as he left the batter's box. Daniel Descalso came in to run for Carpenter and scored on Beltran's two-out single. Descalso stayed in the game at third base for Carpenter, who experienced "right side tightness," according to a club spokesman.