After slow start, Wainwright settles in as Cards top Bucs

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The way Adam Wainwright's night began, it didn't look like he'd finish his first major league season with a winning record or reach 200 innings pitched.

But Wainwright recovered from a shaky start to pitch seven sharp innings and Rick Ankiel homered and had three RBIs, leading the St. Louis Cardinals to a 7-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday night.

Wainwright completed his season 14-12, pitching 202 innings after serving exclusively in the bullpen as a rookie in 2006. Saturday, he gave up four hits and three runs through the first seven batters he faced, but then allowed only two baserunners the rest of the contest. He gave up six hits, walked one and struck out four.

"I think it's a good benchmark, a good first year, something to build on for sure," Wainwright said. "Definitely I will have high expectations for next year. This was a pretty long year for our team but for me I was able to do a lot of things that I came into the year wanting to do.

"I can't wait to come in next year and build on this season."

Ankiel, Albert Pujols and Gary Bennett each had three hits for the defending World Series champions, who have won four in a row entering their season finale Sunday.

Ronny Paulino reached base three times for Pittsburgh, which has lost three in a row and 12 of 14.

The Pirates made it 3-0 in the first on doubles by Nyjer Morgan, Adam LaRoche and Jose Bautista and an RBI single by Steve Pearce. But Wainwright would face the minimum through the next five innings, retiring 15 of the next 16 batters.

"I think he showed stuff that great pitchers do," said Ankiel, a former major league pitcher who worked his way back up the minors as an outfielder. "He had a bad first inning and then he came back and held them. That's a great adjustment. That's what good pitchers do."

Wainwright, who had not won a game since Sept. 1, improved to 3-1 this season against Pittsburgh.

"I knew I wasn't sharp that [first] inning, but I knew what I had to do to make the adjustments," Wainwright said. "I know what I was doing wrong. I made some bad pitches but that was because of mechanical flaws and I adjusted."

After Tom Gorzelanny (14-10) retired the Cardinals in order in the first, St. Louis closed to 3-2 in the second on RBI singles by Ankiel and Bennett.

Ankiel's homer in the fourth, his 11th of the year, tied it at 3. David Eckstein drove in Bennett with a two-out single later in the inning, and Ankiel, a left-handed hitter, drove in his third run the following inning when his single scored Albert Pujols to make it 5-3.

St. Louis added a run to its lead when Aaron Miles scored from second on So Taguchi's single up the middle with two outs in the sixth.

Pirates shortstop Jack Wilson was injured on the play when he collided headfirst with second baseman Matt Kata just beyond the infield dirt behind second base.

Wilson was down on the field for more than five minutes while being tended to by the Pirates medical staff. He was sitting up and conscious as he was taken off the field on a cart, but was taken to a hospital for evaluation. No update on his condition was immediately available.

"In the ambulance, Jack was awake," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said. "He seemed to have all of his faculties about him, but we're waiting for the results of the diagnostic test before we say anything further."

Gorzelanny, who failed in his fourth and final try to become the first Pirates starter to win 15 games in eight years, allowed six runs and 10 hits in six innings. He walked three and struck out one to finish the year with a 3.88 ERA -- the highest it has been all season.

"I'm more disappointed with how I ended [the season]," Gorzelanny said. "It's not what I want to do. I want to contribute, and going out there and having three poor performances to end the season is just not good. It shouldn't be done."

Pujols added an RBI single that scored Taguchi in the ninth.

Game notes
Cesar Izturis replaced Wilson at shortstop. ... Morgan extended his hitting streak to 10 games. ... The Pirates have hit 220 doubles this season to tie a club record set in 2000. ... St. Louis third baseman Miguel Cairo left the game in the middle of the fifth inning with tightness in his right hamstring.