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News » Cardinals-Pirates Preview 2009-05-13

Cardinals-Pirates Preview 2009-05-13

Cardinals-Pirates Preview 2009-05-13
Facing the last-place Pittsburgh Pirates on the road continues to be a struggle for the NL Central-leading St. Louis Cardinals.

St. Louis will try to avoid its fifth consecutive loss in Pittsburgh as the teams continue their three-game series on Wednesday night.

The Pirates (13-20) snapped a season-high eight-game skid with a 7-1 rout in the opener on Tuesday. Zach Duke allowed four hits over eight innings, and right fielder Brandon Moss - batting .174 coming in - had three hits, including a solo homer and two RBIs.

"We were desperate to get that streak over and start a winning streak," said Duke, now 4-3. "Who knows, maybe a 15-game or 20-game winning streak started tonight."

Albert Pujols hit his 13th homer for St. Louis (20-13), which dropped to 1-3 on its six-game road trip.

Pujols is tied with Tampa Bay's Carlos Pena for the major league lead in homers and hitting .383 at PNC Park. The two-time NL MVP's 21 career homers are the most by any opposing player at Pittsburgh's eight-year-old stadium, and his 58 RBIs are his highest total in any visiting stadium.

After beginning the season by winning his first four starts, Joel Pineiro (4-2, 3.66 ERA) will try to avoid his third consecutive loss for St. Louis.

Lack of offense has been the biggest reason behind the right-hander's struggles. During his winning streak, Piniero had a 3.76 ERA, but got 23 runs of support. While he had a 3.46 ERA in his losses, Piniero received only two runs to work with.

On Friday at Cincinnati, he gave up five runs in the first two innings as St. Louis fell 5-4. While he finished strong by retiring 13 of the final 14 batters faced, Pineiro still was unhappy.

"In the first two innings, when I got ahead of hitters, I didn't make the pitch to put them away," he told the Cardinals' official Web site. "I didn't make them hit my pitches."

Pittsburgh has been able to hit Pineiro hard. He was 1-1 with a 7.48 ERA in four starts against the Pirates last season, and is 3-1 with a 5.35 ERA in six career starts.

The Pirates' Ross Ohlendorf (3-3, 4.14) will try for the third time this season to notch a win over the Cardinals.

The right-hander lost to them in his season debut, allowing two runs and seven hits over six innings of a 2-1 defeat on April 9. On Thursday, he was tagged for five runs and seven hits in six innings en route to a 5-2 defeat.

"His tempo got out of whack. He was taking too much time, and I think it started affecting his command," manager John Russell told the Pirates' official Web site. "He was throwing the ball really well, but for some reason that inning got away from him."

But both of those losses were in St. Louis. Ohlendorf has won his last two starts at home, posting a 2.08 ERA while limiting opponents to a .174 batting average, and he has never faced the Cardinals in Pittsburgh.

Pujols is 1 for 4 with an RBI in his career against Ohlendorf.

St. Louis could be without one of its top sluggers after Ryan Ludwick left in the second inning Tuesday with a strained right hamstring and is day-to-day. The right fielder is second on the club with eight homers and 26 RBIs.

"I don't anticipate the news is going to be too good on it," St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: May 13, 2009

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