The Cardinals Major League Notebook 04/23

Joel Pineiro won seven games all last season for the Cardinals. Armed with a renewed faith in his sinkerball, Pineiro is 3-0 after three starts this year.

Pineiro didn't strike out any Mets on Wednesday, but he recorded 16 groundball outs among the 24 outs he had in eight innings.

"I'm going to trust (the sinkerball) all year," Pineiro said. "It's a pitch I'm going to throw every time I need a double play."

Pineiro, who is healthy this year after being set back by shoulder and groin injuries last year, retired 13 in a row late in the game and entered the ninth having thrown only 86 pitches before he was pulled after a leadoff double by David Wright. Dennys Reyes and Ryan Franklin finished up, with Wright scoring on Carlos Beltran's double off Reyes.

"Just an outstanding performance," manager Tony La Russa said. "I don't think there's a better hitting club in our league."

Pineiro was quick to credit two outstanding defensive plays from left fielder Chris Duncan, one from shortstop Khalil Greene and another by third baseman Joe Thurston. And Pineiro said he didn't once shake off catcher Yadier Molina's pitch selection.

Pineiro's eight-inning outing came on the heels of six consecutive starts of six innings or fewer by Cardinals starters, with five of those starts five innings or under.

Furthermore, for the second game in succession, Pineiro drew a walk and scored to spark a multiple-run inning. He scored the go-ahead run in a two-run Cardinals third inning Wednesday.

"I'm really bad with the bat," Pineiro said. "I'd be really frustrated if I walked the pitcher."

CARDINALS 5, METS 2: For the seventh straight time, the Cardinals scored five or more runs, although they have won just four of those games. Three of the five walks they drew off New York starter John Maine came around to score. 1B Albert Pujols drove in two runs to raise his total to 18 for 15 games.

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