The Cardinals Major League Notebook 05/20

The way the Cardinals were going, having lost 10 of 14, it seemed as if it would take a shutout to get them out of their rut. So Joel Pineiro(notes) pitched one Tuesday, throwing perhaps the game of his life in a three-hitter against the Cubs.

"We've been struggling a little bit," Pineiro said. "Hopefully, this will be a turnaround for us."

Pineiro never had thrown a shutout for the Cardinals, let alone a complete game, in 44 career starts. It was the fourth shutout of his career and first since July 26, 2003, when he blanked Texas while pitching for Seattle.

Already leading the National League in fewest walks per nine innings at 1.4, Pineiro didn't walk any Cubs hitters Tuesday. They wouldn't let him.

"They're a very aggressive team. They want to try to knock a pitcher out of the ball game early," Pineiro said.

After winning his first four starts, Pineiro had lost his last three, allowing 10 runs in his last 19 innings. But nothing changed Tuesday other than the result.

"I went through the same routine," said Pineiro (5-3). "I did everything the same. That's the way baseball works. I didn't change anything. I threw my sinker like I've been throwing it all year."

Cardinals 3, Cubs 0: For the first time in their last four series, the Cardinals won the opener. RHP Joel Pineiro's shutout was the second of the season for the Cardinals. Throwing only 92 pitches, Pineiro was dazzlingly effective in throwing 64 strikes, and he got 24 outs from the last 24 hitters he faced, with one hit and one double play involved in that equation.

Notes, Quotes

• C Yadier Molina killed one of the few Chicago threats by picking LF Alfonso Soriano off first base in the first inning after Soriano had opened the game with a single. It was Molina's third pickoff of the season and 29th of his career.

• RHP Joel Pineiro threw 21 first-pitch strikes to 28 hitters and had just two three-ball counts. He retired the last 13 men he faced.

• The 11 walks issued by the Cardinals on Monday were the most by the club in a nine-inning game since July 28, 2004, at Cincinnati, when RHP Jeff Suppan handed out 10 of the 11 walks.

By The Numbers: 11—Rookies who have played for the Cardinals this season. OF Nick Stavinoha, brought up from Class AAA Memphis, was the latest.

Roster Report • CF Colby Rasmus continued his home run tear, smacking a two-run shot Tuesday against the Cubs. "I'm just swinging as hard as I can and trying to get good pitches to hit. That's about all it comes down to," he said. "That's what I've always done. That's what I've always been taught." When OF Rick Ankiel (bruised right shoulder) is activated from the disabled list—likely on Wednesday—Rasmus is expected to stay in center field, with Ankiel moving to right.

• RHP Chris Carpenter, out since April 14 with a torn left oblique muscle, will be activated to start for the Cardinals on Wednesday. Of getting both Ankiel and Carpenter back, Rasmus said, "That's going to be nice. I think it kind of took a little wind out of our sails when they were gone."

• INF Brendan Ryan was the third player to start at shortstop in three games, and he had a strong game as a leadoff hitter with two walks, a hit and a stolen base. "I'm going to be a front-runner. He's going to play shortstop (Wednesday)," manager Tony La Russa said. "He had a good game … he had a great game. We'll see what he does (Wednesday). He's establishing himself as a player."

• SS Khalil Greene, the starter most of the season, didn't play Tuesday as manager Tony La Russa and the club try to deal with the anxiety that has overcome Greene in a disappointing start to his first season with the Cardinals.

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