ST. LOUIS -- Can the Cubs beat Adam Wainwright again?
On May 2, Wainwright served up a season-high six runs and 10 hits in his shortest outing of the year, five innings, and took the loss as the Cubs won, 6-5. On Tuesday at Busch Stadium, Wainwright will face Chicago again in the second game of a four-game series.
The loss earlier this month sent Wainwright to the video room.
"[The loss against the Cubs was] motivation to see what was going on because my arm felt great and my body felt great, but I wasn't getting in the right position," Wainwright said. "I did a lot of film work and got my timing back to where it needed to be.
"The timing in your delivery is very important. Last time, I was breaking my hands a little late, which was causing me to be sporadic with my control. I got back on time with that and things fell into place."
Wainwright did bounce back in his next start against the Braves, giving up one run over eight innings while picking up the win.
The Cubs have nothing but respect for the Cardinals' right-hander. Anthony Rizzo called Wainwright the "hottest pitcher in the league" before the May 2 start because the ace was riding a 25-inning scoreless streak. He was unbeaten in his career at Wrigley. Rizzo apparently wasn't intimidated and hit a solo homer and a two-run single, and Welington Castillo added a two-run double to back Travis Wood and power the Cubs to victory.
"You've just got to give some credit to the Cubs hitters today," Wainwright said after the game. "They put some tough at-bats on us and Wood threw a good enough game to win the game."
Wainwright is 9-7 with a 4.49 ERA in his career against Chicago.
"He knows hitters," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. "This is a championship-type pitcher. Not a whole lot riles him."
Chicago will counter with Jake Arrieta, who will be making his third start of the season. The right-hander was slowed this spring because of tightness in his right shoulder. In his last outing against the White Sox, he gave up three earned runs on nine hits over four innings.
The right-hander admitted he wasn't as sharp and had a tough time keeping the ball down in the zone.
"My sinker was moving all over the place, which is a good thing, but I was having a hard time finding certain spots that I could go to to command it," Arrieta said.
He is 1-0 in two career starts against the Cardinals with 14 strikeouts over 12 1/3 innings. This will be the second time he's faced St. Louis this year after giving up four hits over 5 1/3 scoreless innings on May 3 at Wrigley Field.
Cubs: Olt still developing
Mike Olt leads all National League rookies with eight home runs and 19 RBIs, adding to both of those totals on Monday with a two-run homer in the first, which snapped an 0-for-7 streak. At the start of the season, the Cubs were platooning Olt with Luis Valbuena at third base. The plan was to match Olt against lefties so he could feel comfortable.
"He's still developing as a hitter," Renteria said.
Olt appears to be catching on quickly. He made his 21st start at third on Monday -- Valbuena has 16 -- and three of his homers and 12 of his RBIs have come off right-handers.
"It's just a matter of I'm relaxing a lot more," Olt said. "I've definitely tried to do way too much. Baseball is too hard in general. When you try to put more pressure on yourself, it never turns out well.
"I'm able to block it out. A lot of guys have been through similiar stuff. I was able to talk to them about it, and it helped."
Cardinals: Home sweet home
After opening their season with 26 of 38 games on the road, the Cardinals welcome being back at Busch Stadium for what is to be their longest homestand (10 games, 11 days) of the year. Monday marked the start of a stretch of 19 home games in 23 days for the Cardinals, who have played fewer home games than any other team in the Majors.
It is one of the factors manager Mike Matheny has pointed to when discussing his club's hovering near .500 in recent weeks. The Cardinals have been within one game of .500 since standing 14-12 on April 27.
"It's been something you could tell was starting to wear on us," Matheny said of the road-heavy start. "Not just the schedule, which has been pretty tough, but also just how we've played. Hopefully, we can use [Sunday] night as a springboard to push us forward. Without question, we would prefer to be in front of our home crowd than away.
"I just think there is a comfort of being here. Seeing our fans, getting into a routine. The reality is that we all have lives, too, and for all of us to be able to come back to our families and get some normalcy, because it has been a little bit different than what we're accustomed to. It doesn't instantly make a win, but I think it makes for an environment that everybody would choose to be in."
• The Cubs set season highs in runs scored and hits (20) in Monday's series opener, a 17-5 win. Junior Lake drove in a career-high six runs, the first Cubs player to do so since Ryan Sweeney last June 23 against the Astros. Lake has hit three of his four homers this season against the Cardinals. It's the first time the Cubs have scored 17 runs in St. Louis since Sept. 21, 1974, when they posted a 19-4 win at Busch Stadium II.
• Emilio Bonifacio scored a career-high five runs Monday, the most in MLB this season. He's the first Cubs player to do so since Jody Davis on June 3, 1987, against the Astros. Bonifacio is the 14th Cubs player since 1900 to score five runs in a game.
• Travis Wood is the first Cubs starting pitcher to throw at least six innings and give up more than three earned runs and pick up the win since Matt Garza did so on June 16, 2011, against the Brewers. Wood allowed four earned runs in six innings Monday.
• Anthony Rizzo has hit safely in 11 of 13 games in May. He has 10 RBIs against the Cardinals, the most by any opposing player this season.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.