Adam Wainwright won 20 games in 2010. And he threw the last pitch of three playoff rounds in 2006, including striking out Carlos Beltran for the last out of the National League championship series and Brandon Inge for the last out of the World Series.

But, never, he said Tuesday night, had he felt the emotion he experienced immediately after he blanked the San Diego Padres on four hits, 4-0, for his first shutout since Aug. 6, 2010, against Florida.

"I told Jake (Westbrook) that that might be the best feeling I've ever had pitching," Wainwright said. "I've done some things that are pretty fun, but I can't ever remember feeling that emotional after a game — on a personal level before you share it with your team.

"Today ... I don't know ... it was pretty special," said Wainwright, who doesn't usually have to grope for words.