Wainwright, Soroka each make history in epic NLDS pitchers' duel
Dilip Vishwanat / Major League Baseball / Getty

Starting pitching is alive and well this October.

Adam Wainwright of the St. Louis Cardinals and the Braves' Mike Soroka battled in an epic pitchers' duel during Game 3 of the NLDS that had fans biting their nails at Busch Stadium on Sunday.

Wainwright dazzled with a vintage 120-pitch performance. The 38-year-old allowed just four hits and two walks while striking out eight over his 7 2/3 innings, only departing after appearing to run out of gas when he loaded the bases in the eighth. Andrew Miller got Freddie Freeman to fly out, ending the threat and preserving what was then a 1-0 Cardinals lead. The Cardinals would later relinquish that lead and lose 3-1.

Wainwright's gem put him in rare company. He's only the fifth pitcher aged 38 or older to throw at least 7 2/3 scoreless innings in a playoff game, joining Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Steve Carlton, and Kenny Rogers, according to MLB Stats. Clemens, Johnson, and Rogers each did it twice after turning 38.

Wainwright is the oldest pitcher to throw 120-plus pitches in a playoff game since Clemens twirled a 138-pitch shutout for the New York Yankees in the 2000 ALCS, according to Stats By Stats.

He also became the second-oldest pitcher in Cardinals history to toss seven-plus shutout innings in a playoff start, behind only Woody Williams, according to Joe Trezza of MLB.com. Wainwright's 7 2/3 shutout frames marked the longest blanking from a Cardinals pitcher aged 38 or older since Hall of Famer Burleigh Grimes threw 8 2/3 shutout innings in Game 3 of the 1931 World Series, according to Jon Morosi of MLB.com.

Wainwright is now also only the 17th pitcher to record 100-plus postseason strikeouts. He tallied eight on Sunday, his fifth time reaching that mark in a playoff start, bringing his career total to 104.

Soroka nearly matched the aging Cardinal pitch for pitch.

The 22-year-old became only the 10th pitcher to allow two or fewer baserunners during a playoff start of seven innings or longer, according to Baseball-Reference. His start now stands alongside some of the most memorable postseason performances, including Don Larsen's perfect game and Roy Halladay's no-hitter.

Soroka is also the youngest pitcher to allow two or fewer hits in a playoff game since Cooperstown inductee Waite Hoyt in Game 2 of the 1921 World Series, according to MLB Stats.

The only run Soroka allowed came on Matt Carpenter's second-inning sacrifice fly that scored Marcell Ozuna. He struck out seven and walked none before getting lifted for a pinch hitter in the eighth.

Neither starter earned a decision after the Braves completed a comeback off Cardinals closer Carlos Martinez in the ninth.

Wainwright, Soroka each make history in epic NLDS pitchers' duel
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