Joel Pineiro retired 13 of the last 14 batters he faced but he gave up seven hits in the first two innings, besides committing a key throwing error on a bunt play that was messed up. The result was his second straight loss after four consecutive victories.
"He really didn't have good control of his off-speed pitches," said Cardinals manager Tony La Russa. "He just wasn't sharp."
Pineiro, after fielding Johnny Cueto's bunt with runners at first and third and one out in the second inning, looked at the runner, Adam Rosales, coming down the line from third. Yadier Molina also moved toward the bunt and Joe Thurston came down the line to protect the plate. Rosales didn't attempt to score but Pineiro, after checking the runner, threw belatedly -- and high -- to first base and everybody was safe.
The result was a three-run inning and stretched the Reds' lead to 5-0. "You can't give them extra outs," said Pineiro. "The ball kind of sailed on me. It was a little wet (there had been a rain delay) but that's not an excuse."
On the play, Cueto made it to second when nobody covered after Pineiro's throw went by Albert Pujols and scored one of the runs.
Though he managed six innings and some of the Reds' eight hits weren't well-struck, Pineiro lamented his inability to put hitters away early. "I didn't make good pitches when I had them 0-2 and 1-2," he said.
Rookie Tyler Greene hit his first big-league homer as a pinch hitter to spark a three-run eighth inning. But Thurston, after leading off the ninth with a walk, was thrown out stealing.
"I gave the sign," said La Russa, who had sent Ryan Ludwick on a successful steal attempt in the eighth. "(Thurston) just got a bad jump. If it was a bad play, it was my bad play."
REDS 6, CARDINALS 4: The Cardinals spotted Cincinnati a 5-0 lead in the first two innings Friday and trailed 6-0 after six innings before rallying for four runs in the seventh and eighth. The seventh inning became the key inning because the Cardinals loaded the bases with nobody out but scored only once on a double-play ball by 3B Joe Thurston.
SS Khalil Greene is hitting the ball well since sitting out a week's worth of starts after suffering a right forearm strain. Greene doubled and singled and was robbed of another extra-base hit on a leaping play by Reds LF Lance Nix.
INF Tyler Greene became the fourth Cardinals rookie to hit his first big-league homer when he drilled RHP David Weathers' first pitch to him in the eighth over the centerfield wall. Earlier, INFs Joe Thurston and Brian Barden and OF Colby Rasmus had hit their first major-league home runs.
RHP Ryan Franklin's ninth save to start the season is the best start by a Cardinals closer since Jason Isringhausen opened 2005 with 16 straight saves. Franklin had 17 saves for the Cardinals last year, but with Isringhausen injured but still on the club, Franklin never thought the job was his. "The ninth inning doesn't bother him," said manager Tony La Russa, who will be careful not to overuse Franklin, 36.
BY THE NUMBERS: 1 -- Extra-base hits (a double by SS Brendan Ryan) out of the 20 hits the Cardinals had in Atlanta, where they won two of three games.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "He was always the guy. These guys we're developing as closers. ... they weren't there yet." -- Manager Tony La Russa on his preference for veteran RHP Ryan Franklin as his closer rather emerging young RHPs Jason Motte and Chris Perez.
1B Albert Pujols, one day after being hit in the lower back by a pitch, had only one good at-bat as he went nothing for four, stopping his streak of reaching base at 34 games over two seasons. Pujols hit a fly to left in the first and then fanned once and grounded weakly to shortstop twice.
RHP Kyle Lohse, who admitted he got distracted when he was hit by a pitch on his left elbow by Philadelphia RHP Joe Blanton in his last start, will face the Reds Saturday night. After he was hit last Monday, Lohse gave up six runs on two homers in the next two innings.
RHP Brad Thompson, who worked a scoreless eighth, has pitched three times since coming back from Class AAA Memphis on Monday. The Cardinals still have 13 pitchers, leaving four extra men, all of whom were used in regulation time Friday.
INF Brendan Ryan, recovering from a strained hamstring, thought he was going to Class A Quad Cities this weekend to begin his rehabilitation, but, deemed not ready, he accompanied the team to Cincinnati and then will go to Class AAA Memphis next week to start his rehab. "I can't go at (the speed) I want to go at," he said.
CF Rick Ankiel (sore right shoulder, head) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 5.
INF Brendan Ryan (left hamstring strain) went on the 15-day disabled list April 30. He will start a rehab assignment with Class AAA Memphis during the week of May 11-17.
RHP Chris Carpenter (torn left oblique muscle) went on the 15-day disabled list April 15. He is scheduled to throw a bullpen session May 12. Carpenter is likely out six to eight weeks.
3B Troy Glaus (right shoulder surgery in January 2009) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 27. He didn't heal as quickly as was hoped, and he may not play before July.
LHP Jaime Garcia (Tommy John elbow surgery in September 2008) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 27. He likely will miss all or nearly all of the 2009 season.