SAN FRANCISCO -- St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright knows he'll get there. He knows things will start going his way. He just wishes it would happen sooner rather than later.
Wainwright, who is still recovering from last year's Tommy John surgery, took another step forward, pitching well enough to give the Cardinals a chance to win -- a chance the Cardinals wasted in a 7-5 setback to the San Francisco Giants on Thursday.
"I'm seeing progression, but I'm making it harder than it needs to be," Wainwright said. "It was a tough wind and I had to make adjustments on the fly. I also had a lot of deep counts."
Wainwright won't be making any excuses, though he senses that it's about time something right comes his way.
"I'm still working out the kinks a little bit," Wainwright said. "If the plate was four inches wider, I would have made a lot of good of pitches. My mindset has to be on attacking hitters more."
Wainwright (2-5) still hasn't beaten the Giants in five career starts, and he probably deserved a better fate after giving up five runs, two earned, on six hits over 5 2/3 innings. He walked four and struck out one.
"I threw a lot of really close pitches that were called balls," Wainwright said. "It's just a matter of fine-tuning it. My stuff was not bad and my fastball command was almost good. I'm certainly going through a wrestling match every time I take the ball, it seems like."
Wainwright also felt better about his mechanics but is somewhat frustrated he's not back to where he was before missing all of last year. The right-hander won 39 games in 2009 and 2010.
"It's progressing," he said. "It's going in the right direction. I have very high expectations. Everybody keeps telling me, 'Just be patient. It's coming, you're looking better and better.' But it's tough when you're coming from where I'm coming from, the seasons I've had in the past. It's tough to hear that and not get frustrated because I expect to be great. I haven't been great, but I feel like the ball is coming out better."
The Cardinals jumped on Giants pitching ace Matt Cain early but then could not hold on, committing three errors and giving the Giants three unearned runs.
"The errors gave them extra outs and caused [Wainwright] to throw extra pitches," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "That's not the kind of defense we are accustomed to seeing, and when you make errors, that's when it seems like the ball drops in."
The Giants scored a season high in runs at AT&T Park thanks in large part to the Cardinals' defensive charity.
Matt Holliday hit a home run and drove in three runs and Yadier Molina hit a solo homer for the Cardinals, who had a modest two-game winning streak snapped and have now lost five of their last seven as they head to Los Angeles for a three-game series against the Dodgers.
Matt Carpenter had three hits, Lance Berkman doubled twice and David Freese drove in a run as the Cardinals still lead the National League Central by 2 1/2 games over the Cincinnati Reds.
Rick Eymer is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.