- Associated Press - Friday, March 21, 2014

JUPITER, Fla. (AP) - Cuban shortstop Aledmys Diaz went 2 for 2 in his spring training debut for the St. Louis Cardinals and Adam Wainwright allowed three hits over eight innings Friday in a 2-0 victory over the Washington Nationals.

Diaz lined a single to left field in the second inning and grounded a single to center int he fourth. The Cuban defector agreed March 9 to an $8 million, four-year contract and could not play in a big league exhibition game until obtaining a U.S. work visa. He is expected to be sent to minor league camp soon and begin the season at Double-A Springfield.

“We need to get him exposed to this, and we are running out of time before he needs to go back and get work,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said.

Wainwright, preparing for a March 31 opener at Cincinnati, dominated a Washington lineup devoid of regulars. He struck out seven and walked none, throwing 81 pitches.

“Today was exactly what I wanted to do - just incorporate everything and kind of go out and pitch like I would in a regular season game,” Wainwright said.

Wainwright became the first major league pitcher to throw eight innings in a spring training game since the Cardinals’ Jaime Garcia against the Nationals last year.

Scheduled to throw 90 pitches, Wainwright retired Chris Snyder on a groundout that ended the eighth, walked to the dugout and joked to manager Mike Matheny that he was ready to pitch a complete game.

“The guy has got to get his work in,” Matheny said. “It just happened to take eight innings to do it. We’re not going to tell him to be less efficient to try and save some innings.”

Matheny said Wainwright likely would have a shorter spring training finale.

“I don’t really need to do a whole lot different than I did today, just kind of sharpen everything a little bit more and go from there,” Wainwright said.

Yadier Molina hit an RBI groundout in the first, then walked leading off the third, advanced on Matt Holliday’s double off the top of the left-field wall and scored on Allen Craig’s sacrifice fly.


St. Louis: Matheny would have liked to have been behind the plate for Wainwight.

“It would have been fun to catch,” the manager said. “He had everything working. He was working the sinker on both sides. I thought he used his fastball extremely well.”

Washington: Washington starter Gio Gonzalez allowed two runs - one earned - and four hits and three walks in 4 2-3 innings.

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