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Cardinals handle Mets behind Pujols, Pineiro


Cardinals handle Mets behind Pujols, Pineiro
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Joel Pineiro's strikeout count is way down. His victory count is way up.

Pineiro carried a six-hitter into the ninth without striking out a batter, inducing a deluge of groundball outs in the St. Louis Cardinals' 5-2 victory over the New York Mets on Wednesday night. Hitters are seeing a lot of his sinker and he has three April wins for the first time in his career despite only five strikeouts in 19 2-3 innings.

Pineiro (3-0) didn't win his third game last year until July 8, and finished 7-7 with a 5.15 ERA. Pitching coach Dave Duncan convinced him to emphasize the sinker in spring training.

"I'm going to throw it no matter what," Pineiro said. "That's going to be my game plan no matter if it's at Wrigley Field, Coors Field, whatever field."

Albert Pujols had two hits and two RBIs to take the NL lead with 18, while Joe Thurston and Skip Schumaker had an RBI apiece. The Cardinals scored five or more runs for the seventh straight game and go for a three-game sweep Thursday.

St. Louis has won nine of 12, including six in a row at home.

Mets starter John Maine (0-2) matched his career worst with five walks while attempting to fine-tune his delivery. He left with the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth and the Cardinals ahead 5-1. Maine has a 7.47 ERA with nine walks in 15 2-3 innings.

"I've got to get back to what I was doing the last three years," Maine said. "The fourth, fifth and sixth innings I felt a little better."

The Mets have lost three in a row while getting outscored 15-8.

"That's been the Achilles' heel so far, that we haven't gotten the starting pitching that we expected," manager Jerry Manuel said.

Manuel also is looking to energize the lineup, and planned to move up Carlos Beltran two spots to third on Thursday and switch places with David Wright. Beltran had three hits, including an RBI double off Dennys Reyes in the ninth, and was hitting .474 (9-for-19) the last five games.

Pineiro needed only 35 pitches to retire 13 straight hitters beginning with the final out of the fourth, all but three of them on ground balls, before Wright doubled to start the ninth. Ryan Franklin got pinch hitter Gary Sheffield to pop up for the third out, gaining his fourth save in four chances.

Pirates 7, Marlins 4

At Pittsburgh, Adam LaRoche had four hits and little brother Andy drove in a pair of runs, leading the Pirates to three-game sweep.

Florida began the series with an 11-1 record.

Paul Maholm (3-0) got relief help from Jesse Chavez, Sean Burnett, John Grabow and Matt Capps, with Capps earning his fifth save.

Adam LaRoche was 4-for-5 with three doubles. Ricky Nolasco (1-2) took the loss.

Diamondbacks 2, Rockies 0

At Phoenix, Dan Haren pitched seven sharp innings for his first win this season and Ryan Roberts' pinch-hit single broke a scoreless tie to lift Arizona.

Haren and Jorge De La Rosa (0-2) matched shutout innings until the seventh, when Chris Young singled, went to second on Chris Snyder's single and scored on Roberts' single.

Haren (1-3) lowered his ERA to 1.38. He allowed six hits and two walks, striking out nine.

Giants 1, Padres 0, 10 innings

At San Francisco, Bengie Molina's pinch-hit double off Edwin Moreno (0-2) with two outs in the 10th inning drove in Andres Torres to give the Giants the win.

Brian Wilson (1-0) pitched two shutout innings for the win and the Giants finished 4-1 on their homestand after losing six straight on the road.

Brewers 3, Phillies 1

At Philadelphia, Braden Looper pitched six scoreless innings and Mike Cameron hit a two-run double for Milwaukee.

J.J. Hardy had a solo homer for the Brewers.

Looper (2-0) allowed five hits and walked two. Todd Coffey pitched out of trouble to earn his second save.

Phillies starter Joe Blanton (0-2) gave up three runs and eight hits in six innings.

Braves 1, Nationals 0

At Washington, Kelly Johnson drew a bases-loaded walk from Mike Hinckley in the ninth inning to lift Atlanta to its second win in seven games.

The game was scoreless through eight, with Jair Jurrjens pitching 7 2-3 innings for Atlanta and John Lannan seven for Washington.

Garrett Mock (0-1) was the loser.

Mike Gonzalez (1-0) struck out the only batter he faced. Rafael Soriano earned his second save, pitching a perfect ninth.

Reds 3, Cubs 0

At Chicago, Johnny Cueto (1-1) pitched seven strong innings and Jay Bruce homered in the ninth to lead Cincinnati.

Joey Votto had an RBI double in the eighth inning for the Reds, who ended the Cubs' three-game winning streak.

Francisco Cordero got three outs for his sixth save.

Cubs starter Ted Lilly (2-1) pitched seven solid innings, allowing one unearned run and five hits.

Astros 6, Dodgers 5

At Houston, Ivan Rodriguez hit a go-ahead single in the eighth inning after a wild pitch on an intentional walk by reliever Ronald Belisario put a runner on third for the Astros.

Lance Berkman tied it for Houston earlier in the inning with a solo homer off Belisario (0-1).

Chris Sampson (1-0) gave up a run in two innings for the win. LaTroy Hawkins pitched a perfect ninth for the save in place of closer Jose Valverde, out with a leg injury.

Manny Ramirez and Andre Either hit back-to-back homers in the sixth for the Dodgers.


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 23, 2009

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