New York at St. Louis

Scoreboard
N.Y. Mets (6-8)001000001270
St. Louis (10-5) «10220000x580

Pineiro, Pujols help red-hot Cardinals fly past Mets

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ST. LOUIS -- Pounding his new favorite pitch, the sinker, Joel Pineiro dominated the New York Mets without a single strikeout.

Pineiro carried a six-hitter into the ninth inning and Albert Pujols had two hits and two RBI in the St. Louis Cardinals' 5-2 victory Wednesday night.

"I'm going to trust it all year," Pineiro said. "It's going to be the pitch I go to every time."

The Cardinals backed him with a robust offense that beat up on John Maine, scoring five or more runs for the seventh straight game.

"If it's September and we're getting 5-6 runs a game, then it would be a good time to talk about it," manager Tony La Russa said. "But we're taking hungry at-bats."

Joe Thurston and Skip Schumaker had an RBI apiece for the Cardinals, who will go for a three-game sweep Thursday with Kyle Lohse opposing Livan Hernandez. St. Louis has won nine of 12 since a 1-2 start, including six in a row at home.

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

"I know I'm a better pitcher than this," Maine said. "I'm working hard between starts and I'm just not getting the results right now.

"A lot of times I'm making the pitches I want to make, I'm just a hair off."

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

"Our starting pitching has to be something we can depend on and count on," manager Jerry Manuel said. "Right now, other than Johan [Santana], for the most part it's been a struggle."

Manuel also is looking to energize the lineup and said he'd move Carlos Beltran up two spots to third in the order Thursday, switching places with David Wright.

Daniel Murphy had an RBI single in the third and Beltran hit an RBI double off Dennys Reyes in the ninth for his third hit. Ryan Franklin earned his fourth save in four chances by getting pinch-hitter Gary Sheffield to pop up for the final out.

Pineiro (3-0) retired 13 straight hitters on 35 pitches beginning with the final out of the fourth, all but three of them on ground balls. He was pulled after Wright's leadoff double in the ninth.

Pineiro pitched to contact, walking two for the first 3-0 April start of his career while improving to 8-2 with a 3.61 ERA in 16 career games at Busch Stadium.

"I'm going to keep riding that as long as I can," he said. "That's going to be my game plan no matter if I'm at Wrigley Field, Coors Field, whatever field I am."

A lifetime .082 hitter, he also singled in the seventh and drew a leadoff walk and scored in the third.

The St. Louis defense contributed a couple of nice plays, with Thurston making a diving stab at third with two on and two outs in the fourth to rob Luis Castillo, and shortstop Khalil Greene going deep into the hole to throw out Ramon Castro in the seventh. Left fielder Chris Duncan reached into the stands to snare Murphy's foul fly in the first.

Pujols, who entered the game tied for the NL RBI lead with 16 along with teammate Ryan Ludwick, had a sacrifice fly in the first and a run-scoring single in the third. He is 5-for-11 with two homers and 11 RBI against Maine.

Maine was in trouble every inning except the fifth, when he retired the 3-4-5 hitters on eight pitches after Pineiro had an eight-pitch top half. Duncan followed Pujols' RBI single in the third with a run-scoring groundout for a 3-0 lead, and Thurston had an RBI triple and scored on Schumaker's single in the fourth to make it 5-1.

Notes

  • Questions have been raised about the limited views of the playing field from the visitors' bullpen at Citi Field, the Mets' new ballpark. The commissioner's office is working on it with the Mets, baseball spokesman Pat Courtney said.
  • Ludwick, among the league leaders with a .370 average and tied for the lead in homers (five) and RBI (16), was the odd man out in the four-man outfield rotation. He popped up as a pinch hitter with the bases loaded against Casey Fossum to end the sixth, but La Russa said Ludwick would start the next four games.
  • According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Mets' 6-4 loss Tuesday was their first under Manuel in which they led by at least four runs.
  • Greene walked his first three times up, giving him five straight over two games, before flying out in the sixth.
  • Jose Reyes is 7-for-12 against Pineiro after going 1-for-3 with a single to start the game.
  • Duncan was 0-for-4, ending a 13-game hitting streak to start the season.
 
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Joel Pineiro (35) receives props after being replaced in the ninth with a 5-1 lead.  (AP)
Joel Pineiro (35) receives props after being replaced in the ninth with a 5-1 lead. (AP)

Players of the Game
St. Louis

A. Pujols
AB 3
R 0
H 2
HR 0
RBI 2
New York

C. Beltran
AB 4
R 0
H 3
HR 0
RBI 1
 

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New York Mets
Jose Reyes, SS3010100 .339
Daniel Murphy, LF4011001 .315
David Wright, 3B4110003 .302
Carlos Delgado, 1B4000001 .278
Carlos Beltran, CF4031000 .385
Ryan Church, RF4000003 .318
Ramon Castro, C3010000 .174
   a- Gary Sheffield, PH1000001 .154
Luis Castillo, 2B2100102 .381
    Brian Stokes, P0000000 .000
John Maine, P1000000 .000
    Casey Fossum, P0000000 .000
    Alex Cora, 2B1000000 .000
Totals3127220  
a-fouled out for Castro in the 9th
Batting
2B - David Wright (3, Pineiro), Carlos Beltran (3, Reyes)
SH - John Maine (1)
RBI - Daniel Murphy (6), Carlos Beltran (9)
2-OUT RBI - Daniel Murphy (3)
Team LOB - 5
New York Mets
John Maine (L,0-2) 5.2755520 7.47
Casey Fossum 1100010 0.00
Brian Stokes 1.1000000 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - John Maine 111-63, Casey Fossum 12-8, Brian Stokes 14-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - John Maine 6-8, Brian Stokes 3-1
Batters Faced - John Maine 28, Casey Fossum 4, Brian Stokes 4
St. Louis Cardinals
Skip Schumaker, 2B-LF2111201 .279
Colby Rasmus, RF3120001 .270
   a- Ryan Ludwick, PH-RF1000003 .370
Albert Pujols, 1B3022000 .315
Chris Duncan, LF4001002 .333
    Brian Barden, 3B0000000 .391
Rick Ankiel, CF4000023 .208
Yadier Molina, C4010011 .340
Khalil Greene, SS2100201 .220
Joe Thurston, 3B-2B4111001 .306
Joel Pineiro, P3110101 .143
    Dennys Reyes, P0000000 .000
    Ryan Franklin, P0000000 .000
Totals3058553  
a-popped out for Rasmus in the 6th
Batting
2B - Colby Rasmus (2, Maine)
3B - Joe Thurston (1, Maine)
SF - Albert Pujols (2)
RBI - Skip Schumaker (5), Albert Pujols 2 (18), Chris Duncan (12), Joe Thurston (8)
2-OUT RBI - Skip Schumaker (2)
SB - Albert Pujols (1, 2nd base off Fossum/Castro)
CS - Khalil Greene (1, 2nd base by Maine/Castro)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Schumaker, Schumaker-Greene-Pujols
St. Louis Cardinals
Joel Pineiro (W,3-0) 8622200 4.12
Dennys Reyes 0.2100000 3.38
Ryan Franklin (S,4) 0.1000000 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - Joel Pineiro 91-53, Dennys Reyes 7-4, Ryan Franklin 3-2
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Joel Pineiro 15-7, Dennys Reyes 1-1
Batters Faced - Joel Pineiro 30, Dennys Reyes 3, Ryan Franklin 1
Game Information
Attendance - 35622
Game Time - 2:25
Temperature - 71
Umpires - Home - Ted Barrett, First Base - Greg Gibson, Second Base - Andy Fletcher, Third Base - Tim McClelland