The Cardinals Major League Notebook 05/14

The Cardinals had only one runner in scoring position through eight innings Wednesday, other than a solo home run. Their defense didn't make any big plays, and their pitcher, Joel Pineiro, allowed too much contact again.

Assuring themselves of a losing trip (they are 1-4 with Thursday night's game remaining) and their third series loss in the last four, the Cardinals were no match again for the Pittsburgh Pirates, the last-place club in their division. The Pirates won despite having a run taken off the board with a correct reversal of a home run call in the first inning.

The Cardinals, who have lost seven of their last 10 games, have been outscored 12-3 over the first two games of the series. Other than second baseman Skip Schumaker's fourth-inning homer Wednesday—his first home run since last August 16— the Cardinals mustered only one other hit off right-hander Ross Ohlendorf in six innings.

Pineiro, who suffered his third straight loss after four consecutive victories, didn't walk a batter for the third time in his seven starts. But he struck out only one, on a failed bunt attempt by Ohlendorf, and gave up 11 hits, including five doubles and a couple of seeing-eye singles.

"(Pineiro) gave up a lot of hits," manager Tony La Russa said. "He didn't pitch all that well. The big thing was that we got shut down offensively."

Pirates 5, Cardinals 2: After eight meetings this season, the Cardinals and Pirates are all even at 4-4. RHP Joel Pineiro became the latest Cardinals starter to struggle, giving up five runs in six innings. In the team's last five starts, no St. Louis starter has allowed fewer than four runs.

Notes, Quotes

• Manager Tony La Russa held a meeting shortly after the players arrived Wednesday. The theme was, basically, play with what you have and don't worry about what you don't have. "This is the lineup we've got," La Russa said. "And we can win with this lineup. What you do is take care of your own business. You can stop and think that our chance to compete has been lessened. We've got some key guys who aren't in there, but we can still compete. And that's the message."

• SS Khalil Greene hit one ball 400 feet for an out, but an 0-for-3 night Wednesday dropped his average to .217, just four points above where he finished last season when he broke his hand in San Diego. "I've done that many times unfortunately," Greene said of the long out. "I kind of got used to doing that in San Diego, hitting balls well in the gap and watching them get caught. It's kind of frustrating. It's definitely been a difficult process for me to have some consistency."

• RHP Todd Wellemeyer had given up only two homers in his first 40 innings, but he served home runs in the fifth inning Tuesday to Pirates 1B Adam LaRoche and RF Brandon Moss.

Roster Report

• RF Ryan Ludwick, placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring he suffered Tuesday night, is the Cardinals' leading hitter against left-handed pitching at .323. The rest of the club is hitting .220 against left-handers and, overall, the Cardinals are averaging .176 against lefty relievers.

But, said manager Tony La Russa, "a couple of years ago, we couldn't beat (a left-hander). We're winning games, no matter what our averages are."

The Cardinals are 7-4 in games started by opposing left-handers.

• Ludwick said he was more sore Wednesday than he had been on Tuesday night. On the other hand, he wasn't hurt as badly as on some other occasions in his career. "I've had this string of a long period of time without being on the DL, so that (stinks)," he said. "But the positive is, compared to other things I've been on the DL for, this is extremely minor. I'm not going to have to have my knee scoped. Or a rod put in my hip. Or a rod put in my arm."

Nick Stavinoha, an outfielder by trade who had been playing first base and catcher at Class AAA Memphis where he was hitting .264 with 25 RBIs, was recalled to add right-handed punch off the bench. Stavinoha lined out as a pinch hitter in the ninth inning Wednesday.

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