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Cards ace Wainwright struggles in Series opener

Thursday - 10/24/2013, 2:30am  ET

HOWARD ULMAN
AP Sports Writer

BOSTON (AP) -- Nothing went right for Adam Wainwright early in the World Series opener.

The Boston Red Sox refused to chase his swooping curveball, took advantage when the right-hander let a popup fall in front of the mound for a hit in the second inning and went on to beat the Cardinals 8-1 on Wednesday night.

Wainwright started off the second by getting Stephen Drew to hit a high pop in front of the mound, and he raised his hands as if signaling that he would catch it. Instead, Wainwright let the ball drop between him and catcher Yadier Molina, a fellow Gold Glove winner, for a single that started a two-run inning that opened a 5-0 lead.

"Tonight was a clear case of our starting pitching, being me, going out there and setting the wrong tone. That second inning completely (changes) if I catch the ball.

A 19-game winner in the regular season, Wainwright threw 60 pitches through two innings. He looked more like an ace after that but left after the fifth, trailing 5-0 and having thrown 95 pitches through.

Wainwright allowed just one hit in his last three innings but, by then, it was too late.

"He did get better as he went," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said.

Wainwright allowed three earned runs in his shortest stint in his last 10 games. He was 6-1 in his previous eight starts with the only loss coming in Game 3 of the NL championship series when he gave up two runs in seven innings of a 3-0 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"The good news is, I didn't show them anything I had. Everything I threw tonight was pretty much garbage," Wainwright added.

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WANT WHIPPED CREAM WITH THAT?: Michael Wacha walked into a restaurant in St. Louis and found himself on the menu.

So he tried the "Wacha Wacha" milkshake.

"It was pretty good," the Cardinals rookie right-hander said before the World Series opener Wednesday night.

It's been a quick move from the shadows to the spotlight for Wacha, called up for the final time this season after rosters expanded in September. Now he's the flavor of the month in October, scheduled to start Game 2 against the Boston Red Sox on Thursday night.

Wacha was 4-1 with a 2.78 ERA in three regular-season stints with the Cardinals. In the postseason, he's 3-0 with a 0.43 ERA, allowing just one earned run in 21 innings. In the clinching sixth game of the NL championship series, he allowed two hits in seven innings of a 9-0 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Now he's recognized more in public.

"It was pretty much the same until after this last start in the NLCS," Wacha said. "But, yeah, I went to go eat at just a little restaurant and I had a milkshake named after me, and that was pretty weird. So I had to try that out."

But his life hasn't changed much, he said, "just a lot more texts and phone calls and stuff."

There could be plenty more of those after Thursday night's game.

"This World Series start will definitely be the No. 1, the highest, biggest, most important game that I've ever pitched in," Wacha said.

Afterward, he'll head back to St. Louis for Game 3 on Saturday night. And, perhaps, for his namesake beverage.

"It was like a vanilla," he said. "It had some Crackerjacks in it, added a little baseball flair to it. And then there's some chocolate chips, I guess, in there, too. I can't really remember everything. "

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MANAGING HOTBED: Boston's John Farrell is one of five members of the 1988 Cleveland Indians who went on to become major league managers.

He was teammates with Bud Black, Terry Francona and Ron Washington. And Charlie Manuel was the hitting coach.

"Must have been something in Lake Erie," Farrell said before Wednesday night's World Series opener against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Farrell had a 14-10 record as a right-handed starter. Former Boston and current Cleveland manager Francona led the team with a .311 batting average but had only 212 at-bats.

For those five, baseball "is more about a life as opposed to a job," Farrell said. "There was a real desire to continue on after playing days were over."

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CHAMPIONSHIP SUPPORT: The Boston Red Sox are trying to match the New England Patriots' haul of three championships in this century.

And quarterback Tom Brady has a bold prediction:

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