CHICAGO – Kyle Hendricks pitched brilliantly Sunday. Unfortunately for the Chicago Cubs, Adam Wainwright pitched better.
Wainwright threw seven scoreless innings and Matt Holliday hit a solo homer to lead the St. Louis Cardinals to a 1-0 victory and a series win over the Cubs.
The Cardinals ace outdueled Hendricks (1-1), making only his third career major league start. Hendricks allowed just one run on seven hits in 6 1-3 innings.
"It was awesome," Hendricks said of his matchup with Wainwright. "I didn't sleep too much last night because I was so excited. He's obviously one of the best pitchers in the game, and that's one of the moments you live for —to pitch against the best."
Wainwright (13-5) allowed five hits and walked three during his seven innings. It was a far cry from his previous outing when he allowed six runs (four earned) in 4 2-3 innings against the Tampa Bay Rays last Tuesday.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny was not surprised by Wainwright's bounceback performance Sunday.
"I don't think that's much of a reach when you're talking about one of the best pitchers in the game," Matheny said. "It was a big game for us. We needed it to happen and he did everything he could."
Kevin Siegrist worked the eighth and Trevor Rosenthal pitched the ninth for his 32nd save in 36 chances.
The Cardinals won two of the three games at Wrigley Field in the weekend set. The Cubs have not won a home series since taking two of three from the Miami Marlins June 6-8. They have lost 15 of their last 19 games.
Despite the recent struggles, Cubs manager Rick Renteria likes what he sees from his ball club.
"The big picture is that we want to win every game, but the way we're competing and holding our own on a day-to-day basis, I think the attitude these young men have is in the right place," Renteria said. "They're trying to do things the right way."
With the wind blowing out to right field, the conditions seemed ideal for a classic Wrigley slugfest — a feeling seemingly confirmed when Holliday, the third batter of the game, lifted a drive to center field that landed in the batter's eye for a solo homer and a 1-0 Cardinals lead.
But that's where the score stayed as the starters took control.
On paper, the matchup seemed a huge mismatch, but Hendricks was able to stay competitive with the perennial All-Star, with the only essential difference being Holliday's blast. Hendricks benefited from two double plays and Matt Carpenter was thrown out at second attempting to stretch a single, but the rookie never faced a true jam.
The only time Hendricks was close to giving up a run after the first inning came after he was lifted in the seventh inning with a runner on first base and one out. Left-hander Wesley Wright loaded the bases with two out, but got Wainwright to line out softly to first base.
NOTES: As part of the 100th anniversary celebration of Wrigley Field, both teams wore replica uniforms from 1978. The Cardinals uniforms were only slightly different than ones from today (no belts and pullover jerseys being the main change), but the Cubs wore powder blue pinstripes, which were the road uniforms then. ... The Cardinals are off on Monday, while the Cubs begin a four-game home series with the Colorado Rockies, with LHP Tsuyoshi Wada (0-1, 5.00) facing LHP Yohan Flande (0-2, 7.20).