(SportsNetwork.com) - Adam Wainwright tries to become the National League's first 11-game winner on Thursday when the St. Louis Cardinals start a four- game set with the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium.
Wainwright has been nearly flawless his last two times out and was terrific in a win against the Philadelphia Phillies with 11 days rest on Saturday, as he allowed a run and six hits over eight innings. He also struck out seven without walking a batter and improved to 10-3 on the year to go along with a 2.08.
"Unbelievable," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "This guy has just been so good. Taking a little break and coming back as sharp as he is, I don't know why I'm surprised, but to be as sharp as he is with a little time off, he looked like the Adam we've watched all season."
Wainwright, who is tied with Cincinnati's Alfredo Simon for the NL lead in wins and is second to the Reds' Johnny Cueto in ERA (1.96), had tossed seven scoreless innings his previous time out and has given up just three runs in his last three starts after being battered for a season-high seven back on May 30.
The St. Louis ace will try to keep the Cardinals on the winning track Thursday following a series win in Colorado. Matt Carpenter's two-out double in the bottom of the eighth inning drove in the deciding run on Thursday, as St. Louis rallied to win the rubber match, 9-6.
"Overall, just a great, gutsy win," Matheny said. "To be able to get guys on third with less than two outs and to get the run in, that's who we have to be."
St. Louis has now won four of five, but will now face the three pitchers who have thrown no-hitters this season over the course of the next five games, starting Thursday with Dodgers' right-hander Josh Beckett.
Beckett has had some bad luck since his no-no, but was impressive in a win over San Diego on Saturday. He scattered four hits over seven scoreless innings in that one to run his record to 5-4 on the year, while lowering his ERA to 2.28.
"If I get seven and 100 pitches, that's a pretty successful night," Beckett said. "At this point in my career, I'm not a complete-game guy. My stuff is not as good. I try to battle with what I have and get through six or seven innings."
Beckett has not given up more than four earned runs in a game all season (14 starts). Despite giving up just seven earned runs over his past five games, he has earned losses in three of them.
Los Angeles has also won four of five and seven of its last nine to move just three games back of the San Francisco Giants in the NL West.
This series, of course, is the first between these teams since the Cardinals defeated the Dodgers, four games to two, in the NLCS. Beckett, though, missed the series while recovering from Thoracic Outlet Syndrome surgery.
The Dodgers did win the season series, however, 4-3.