Cardinals Major League Notebook: 07/20/09

Joel Pineiro pitched and hit the Cardinals to the home series clincher over Arizona on Sunday.

The Cardinals had been accustomed to seeing right-hander Joel Pineiro work into the seventh inning or later, without walking anybody or allowing a home run. He leads the National League in fewest allowed in both categories.

On Sunday, Pineiro ripped off his fourth straight start without a walk and he didn't give up a home run either. But the bonus was that he knocked in both Cardinals runs with a two-run double in the fourth inning.

Pineiro was an .086 hitter before this season, but is hitting a robust (for him) .211 this year. Manager Tony La Russa said Pineiro's work in the spring had led to him receiving "the most improved hitter (for a pitcher)" award, voted by his peers.

"At that time," joked La Russa, "it was because he was getting the ball out of the cage, but now he's actually starting to get hits."

Pineiro is just 8-9 but, with a 3.09 earned run average, should be a lot better. "He's pitched this way almost every start," La Russa said. "His record is so deceiving."

But Pineiro hasn't seemed to be addled by his his lack of run support -- the Cardinals have scored more than three runs in only two of his losses. He has made the top four in the Cardinals' rotation -- right-handers Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, Kyle Lohse and himself -- as strong as anybody's in the league.

CARDINALS, 2 DIAMONDBACKS 1: The Cardinals won the rubber game of a three-game series for the third time this month. RHP Ryan Franklin gained his fifth save involving his getting more than three outs and notched his 22nd in 23 tries overall.


--RHP Joel Pineiro hasn't walked a batter in 32 2/3 innings. He has issued only 12 in 122 1/3 innings.

--The Cardinals, eight games over .500 again, have been remarkably consistent, home and road. After 94 games, they have played 47 at home and 47 on the road, with one more win (26) at home.

BY THE NUMBERS: 32 -- Number of career pickoffs for C Yadier Molina.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "As long as I can go out there and not think about it, I should be fine. I want to get to the point where the wrist does not consume my every thought at the plate." -- INF-OF Mark DeRosa, returning to action after being disabled with a torn tendon sheath in his left wrist.


--RF Ryan Ludwick went 0-for-3 for three and his hitting streak ended at 11 games. He was 18-for-41 (.439) in that time. The Cardinals again have their clean-up man.

--INF Mark DeRosa, who had had a torn tendon sheath in his left wrist, went hitless Saturday and Sunday in his first starts since coming off the disabled list. In DeRosa's first five games as a Cardinal since coming from Cleveland, he is 0-for-15. DeRosa said he felt "awkward" on Saturday, but said he felt no pain.

--LHP Trever Miller allowed a two-run double to Arizona SS Stephen Drew in the eighth. Before that, he had given up only six hits in 56 at-bats against lefthanders. Miller, part of a strong one-two left-handed punch in the bullpen with Dennys Reyes, hadn't given a hit to anybody in his previous 12 outings.

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