The Cardinals Major League Notebook 06/24

Joel Pineiro, who had lost eight of his last nine decisions after starting the season with four wins, on Tuesday did the same thing he did the last time he won. He pitched a shutout.

Pineiro, who three-hit the Cubs on May 19, did even better Tuesday at Citi Field in New York, blanking the Mets with a two-hitter. His sinkerball was at its best, as he recorded 22 of the 27 outs on groundouts. Pineiro had to face only 29 hitters in a 100-pitch masterpiece.

That Pineiro would throw a shutout wasn't that shocking, as he had done it last month. That he would get two hits as a batter in the same game is astonishing. He doubled off Livan Hernandez and scored the first run of the game, and he also singled. That raised Pineiro's season hit total to five.

A 52-minute rain delay did not deter Pineiro either, as he helped the Cardinals to their fourth win over New York in five meetings this season. The weather was much cooler Tuesday than it was last Thursday in St. Louis when Pineiro had suffered cramps and had to be carried off the field after he completed the seventh inning of a 6-3 loss to Detroit. He made sure he was hydrated properly this time, though.

Pineiro gave up only a single by Luis Castillo in the third and a pinch single by Jeremy Reed in the ninth. He has the Mets' number, beating them for the third straight time and second in two outings this season.

The shutout was the fifth of Pineiro's career and cemented his place in the rotation despite his having gone 1-8 in his previous nine decisions. Pineiro's ERA is an excellent 3.40. Not so cemented, especially when injured Kyle Lohse returns soon, is Todd Wellemeyer, who allowed 14 baserunners in 5 2/3 innings the night before in losing for the seventh time in 13 decisions.

Cardinals 3, Mets 0: The Cardinals survived losing two runners on the bases on the same at-bat in the seventh and didn't take advantage of a second-and-third, no-out situation in the third. However, St. Louis got an unearned run in the third inning, and Albert Pujols drove in two with a bases-loaded single in the seventh.

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