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Adam Wainwright, Yadier Molina tie record for most starts by a battery

ST. LOUIS — As has so often been the case through the years when Adam Wainwright was on the mound, Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina helped his good friend’s cause with significant contributions with his bat and his work behind the plate.

On a day when Molina and Wainwright tied the AL/NL record for starts made by a battery at 324, the veteran catcher hit his first home run in nearly four months and added a second in the fourth inning. Molina smashed a two-run home run in the second inning 403 feet down the left-field line. Molina’s blast, his first since May 15, left the bat at 103.6 mph — his fourth-hardest-hit ball of the season, per Statcast. His home run in the fourth inning — a 350-foot line drive that barely cleared the wall in left — tied the game at 4 and gave him nine multi-home run games in his career.

Molina’s last multi-home run game came at Philadelphia on April 17, 2021. Oddly, only two of his nine multi-homer games in 19 seasons with the Cardinals have come in St. Louis. The last one at Busch Stadium was against the Cubs on May 14, 2017.

Molina, teammates with Wainwright for the past 18 seasons, came into Thursday with 333 hits in games started by Wainwright — the most hits in MLB history by a catcher in games started by one pitcher. Also, Molina’s 19 game-winning RBIs are the third most in MLB history by a catcher in games thrown by one pitcher. Molina, who has already announced that this season will be his last, has played his best baseball in September. He entered Thursday 7-for-14 with three doubles, a home run and four RBIs even before his two-homer feat.

Wainwright and Molina equaled the MLB record of 324 starts set by Mickey Lolich and Bill Freehan, accomplished from 1963-75 with the Tigers. Wainwright, 41, and Molina, 40, made their first start together on April 6, 2007, in Houston against the Astros, and Thursday’s outing was their 20th start of the season. Coincidentally, on the same Sept. 8 date that their record was tied by Wainwright and Molina, Lolich and Freehan made their final start for the Tigers 47 years earlier.

“I personally don’t think this record will be touched ever again,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “The longevity of both the careers [of the pitcher and catcher] to be good for that long, to stay together for that long, and have loyalty to one organization for that long, the probability of that’s so small.”

Wainwright and Molina came into Thursday as the winningest battery in MLB history with 212 team victories in their starts together. Warren Spahn and Del Crandall, stars with the Braves from 1949-63, are second with 202 victories in their starts.

The Cardinals’ early lead vanished in the fourth inning when Nationals leftfielder Alex Call drilled a double to left field to plate two runs and give Washington a 4-3 lead. Wainwright came into Thursday with a 2-1 record and a 2.92 ERA in his past four starts.

Molina and Wainwright are scheduled to become the AL/NL record-holders next Wednesday against the Brewers, when they make their 325th start together.



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