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STL@LAD: Waino strikes out seven over eight innings

Adam Wainwright was confident as he stood at his locker with his worst start in hand that it would simply be a blemish on his otherwise strong season.

The 32-year-old veteran entered that May night at Busch Stadium with two straight scoreless starts of eight and nine innings. This time, against a hot Giants team, he labored through a season-low 4 1/3 innings, allowing a season-high seven runs.

"To overreact to one start would be a mistake," Wainwright said after his May 30 outing. "I'll continue to do my work between starts that I always do to make sure that when I go out there I'll be very prepared next time out. I'll be very focused and I'll be ready to turn the switch on this."

In his four starts since during the month of June -- he missed one outing with tendinitis in his right elbow -- Wainwright has posted a 1.16 ERA, allowing four runs in 31 innings. He'll get his chance at redemption against the Giants on Wednesday at AT&T Park in San Francisco.

The Giants, who have watched their once large lead in the National League West disappear to a surging Dodgers club, will counter with right-hander Ryan Vogelsong.

Vogelsong entered his last outing against Cincinnati with a 7.31 ERA in his previous three starts, but bounced back. He allowed one run -- on a two-out, fifth-inning double -- over six innings, but took the loss.

"I hang a curveball to the eight-hole hitter, give up a double and a run scored from first base. That chaps my butt a little bit," a disappointed Vogelsong said after. "That put us behind, and against that team, we can't do that, not with the back end of their bullpen the way it is. That's why I'm a little upset right now."

Wainwright has finished at least eight innings in eight of his 16 starts. He has allowed one or no runs in 10 of them and will be seeking to become the National League's first 11-game winner. He'll need offensive support to do so, which the Cardinals have struggled to muster in the past five games, scoring a combined four runs while losing four of five.

The Giants, who snapped a four-game losing streak Tuesday with a 5-0 win over the Cardinals, will be hoping to attack Wainwright just as they did a month ago.

"I'm sure he wasn't quite as sharp [as he usually is]," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said then. "That's the only way you score off him. That's how good he is."

Cardinals: Taveras' return means less playing time for others
Prized prospect Oscar Taveras was back with the Cardinals on Tuesday as they began their final three games of the 10-game road trip. Taveras, ranked by MLB.com as baseball's No. 2 prospect, went 0-for-3 as the team's right fielder.

With the young Taveras back, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny will need to delegate playing time. On Tuesday, Allen Craig shifted from right to left, but in the coming days, Craig and first baseman Matt Adams are likely to share time with Taveras in the outfield.

"I think it's a challenge to find time for anybody. Oscar falls into that same category," Matheny said. "We're just going to watch, see how guys are playing, what they need and see how he's handling the opportunities we give him."

Taveras, who went 7-for-37 in 11 games during his first stint with the club in early June, was excited to be back in the Majors.

"I'm more prepared now," Taveras said. "I'm feeling more ready this time than last time."

Giants: Morse struggling with lack of power
Michael Morse's power has been out for a while. Almost an entire month, to be exact.

Morse still leads the Giants in both home runs (13) and RBIs (44), but has added very little to those numbers recently. Morse's last long ball came June 5 in Cincinnati. He hasn't homered at AT&T Park since May 15.

The numbers get worse. He is 9-for-45 with two extra-base hits and no RBIs in his last 14 games and has just two RBIs since June 8. In that same span, the Giants have gone 5-15.

His power outage, combined with the absence of Brandon Belt, has left Bochy's lineup nearly devoid of power. The Giants have hit just three home runs in their last 12 games and eight in their last 20 home games.

They're 34-14 when they do homer, compared to a paltry 13-22 when they don't.

Worth noting
• Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday and second baseman Mark Ellis are expected to be back in the lineup Wednesday. Holliday was given Tuesday off to have two consecutive days of rest while Ellis, who has been battling left knee tendinitis throughout the season, was given rest to avoid overuse.

• The Giants are 6-for-48 with runners in scoring position through the first eight games of the current homestand.

• Vogelsong is 1-5 with a 6.94 ERA in eight career starts against the Cardinals. He has allowed nine earned runs on 16 hits in 11 2/3 innings in his last two starts against them.

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