ST. LOUIS -- Getting out of the first inning can be difficult for a starting pitcher. Just ask Brandon Workman.
The right-hander gave up three runs on four hits in the first inning of Boston's 5-2 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday night. In his final 4 1/3 innings, he allowed a run and two hits, finding his stride too late.
"I just didn't come out sharp and that got me," Workman said. "I put our team behind the 8-ball against a good pitcher. Maybe I need to take a different approach in the bullpen."
The 25-year-old Workman (1-5) was a second-round draft pick in 2010 out of Texas and moved into the rotation when Jon Lester was traded to Oakland. He has dropped his last five decisions with a 6.04 ERA and has surrendered 12 runs in the first inning of his 10 starts overall.
In his last two starts, he has totaled 70 pitches in the first inning and allowed five runs.
Adam Wainwright recovered from a shaky start to earn his 14th win, tying for the major league lead, and rookie Kolten Wong homered twice for St. Louis.
The Red Sox were 2 for 11 with runners in scoring position.
"We ran up his pitch count, we forced him to make some key pitches with men in scoring position," manager John Farrell said. "Overall, you put that many runners on base, you come away with a little bit of a missed opportunity."
Jhonny Peralta's two-run double was the big blow in the first and Wong had his first multihomer game.
Wainwright (14-6) needed 66 pitches to slog through the first three innings after the start was delayed by rain for more than an hour for the second straight night. The 6-foot-7 right-hander retired 11 in a row before Boston put two on with two outs in the seventh.
Manager Mike Matheny left his ace in and Yoenis Cespedes took a third strike on a full-count curveball, catcher Tony Cruz sprinting to the dugout before home plate umpire Gary Cederstrom's call.
Wainwright has won at least 14 games each of the last three seasons. Wily Peralta won his 14th game earlier Thursday for the NL Central-leading Brewers, who are one game ahead of St. Louis.
Workman retired nine straight before Wong lined a 1-0 pitch over the right-field wall with one out in the fifth to put the Cardinals up 4-2. Wong then added his ninth homer in the seventh, a 423-foot shot off Craig Breslow.
Mike Napoli and Christian Vasquez each drove in a run in the third, Wainwright's roughest inning. He had seven strikeouts and allowed seven hits, four of them in the third.