BALTIMORE (AP) — Adam Wainwright pitched five solid innings for his 199th win, and the St. Louis Cardinals spoiled John Means’ return for Baltimore, beating the Orioles 5-2 on Tuesday night.
Richie Palacios homered in his first two plate appearances after entering the game as a pinch-runner for an injured Nolan Gorman in the second. It was that kind of night for the Cardinals. Wainwright (4-11) snapped a seven-start losing streak and a run of 11 in a row without a victory. The 42-year-old right-hander, who is retiring after this season, allowed two runs and seven hits.
It was a frustrating loss for the Orioles, who entered with a three-game lead over Tampa Bay atop the AL East, but on this night, the big question for Baltimore was how Means (0-1) would pitch. He was making his first appearance since having Tommy John surgery in April of last year.
Means allowed homers to Paul Goldschmidt in the first and Palacios in the fourth, but he made it through five innings allowing only four hits. He could be an X-factor for the Orioles down the stretch as they try to manage their inexperienced rotation.
The Cardinals are last place in the NL Central, but they helped Wainwright move within one win of a big milestone. Giovanny Gallegos, Matthew Liberatore, John King and Ryan Helsley pitched in relief, with Helsley earning his ninth save.
Taking the mound with a 1-0 lead in the first, Wainwright immediately walked the first two hitters, but he escaped that jam. Jordan Walker added a sacrifice fly in the second and Palacios homered to make it 3-0 in the fourth.
In the bottom of the fourth, Wainwright got out of a bases-loaded, one-out situation when James McCann grounded into a double play. Baltimore finally scored a couple runs off him in the fifth when Anthony Santander hit an RBI single and Ryan O’Hearn scored Gunnar Henderson by grounding into a force-out.
Palacios homered again in the seventh, and Lars Nootbaar made it 5-2 with an RBI single.
The Orioles put their first two batters on base in the seventh, but Cedric Mullins grounded into a double play and it was pretty clear this was not Baltimore’s night.
The Orioles went 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position.
Cardinals: Gorman hit an infield single in the second, then immediately left the game with right hamstring tightness. … C Willson Contreras exited in the sixth with a right hand contusion.
Baltimore sends RHP Kyle Gibson (14-8) to the mound against LHP Drew Rom (0-2) on Wednesday night. The Orioles traded Rom to the Cardinals last month in the deal that brought RHP Jack Flaherty to Baltimore.