The Redbird Report 04/30

St. Louis Cardinals' Joel Pineiro pitches in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds in St. Louis. Pineiro pitched seven strong innings, giving up only one hit, as the Cardinals beat the Reds 7-2.

After two mediocre starts, both losses, against the San Francisco Giants, Joel Pineiro, presumed fully recovered from his shoulder problems in spring training, has given up just one run and five hits over his last 14 innings in two games, both victories.

Pineiro allowed a handful of hard-hit balls and walked four in the first four innings Tuesday but then steadied to set down the last 12 Reds to face him. He gave up just one hit, Corey Patterson's single to lead off the game, and didn't allow a run in seven innings.

He had his biggest problem came in the first. A double steal on the pitch that struck out Ken Griffey Jr. gave the Reds runners at second and third with one out. But Pineiro got Brandon Phillips to ground to third baseman Troy Glaus, who threw home to trap Patterson.

The Reds bungled the ensuing rundown, and the Cardinals managed to retire Jeff Keppinger, too, for an inning-ending double play.

"The pitches he made to strike out Griffey and get the groundball on Phillips were great pitches," manager Tony La Russa said. "That was the key to the game."

His club having lost six of its previous 10 games, La Russa broke out a new lineup, with Adam Kennedy hitting second for the first time this season and Chris Duncan dropped to sixth to offer more power near the bottom of the order.

Duncan fanned twice, walked and singled. Kennedy was in the middle of a three-run inning in the first and four-run frame in the second, as he walked and singled.

A day off must have been some tonic for Skip Schumaker. The right fielder, back in his leadoff spot, singled four times in five at-bats.

"What Skip and Adam did was quality," La Russa said.

With one game remaining in April, the Cardinals, not considered contenders at the start of the season, are 17-11.

"With a group like this, where there are so many guys getting significant playing time for the first time in their careers, it's good to get early success," La Russa said.

CARDINALS 7, REDS 2: Three Cardinals pitchers, with Joel Pineiro leading the way, held the Reds to one hit for the first eight innings and three for the night. Skip Schumaker and Adam Kennedy, batting Nos. 1-2 for the first time, reached base seven times on six singles and a walk, and Rick Ankiel, batting fourth, had two doubles and a single.


--1B Albert Pujols had his hitting streak stopped at nine games but an eighth-inning walk extended his on-base streak to all 28 games the Cardinals have played.

--LHP Mark Mulder, bouncing back from shoulder surgery, will make his fourth rehabilitation appearance Wednesday for Class AAA Memphis against Salt Lake City, which is 22-2.

--3B Troy Glaus, not wearing glasses as his eyes apparently haven't been bothered as much by allergic conditions, singled and doubled in his first two at-bats Tuesday. Glaus knocked in three runs, giving him 21 RBIs in just 27 games.

--The Cardinals didn't win their 17th game until May 22 last year. They were 17-25 then. A win Wednesday would set a franchise record for victories in April. They had 17 in 2006 and in 2000.

--The Cardinals have outscored their opponents 18-2 in first innings this season.

BY THE NUMBERS: 250 -- Career doubles for 3B Troy Glaus after he got his 10th of the season on April 23.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Rick is making good contact. He just can't get a hit." -- Manager Tony La Russa, talking about OF Rick Ankiel, whose average dipped into the .240s.

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