ST. LOUIS (AP) -Pounding his new favorite pitch, the sinker,
New York Mets
without a single strikeout.
Pineiro carried a six-hitter into the ninth inning and
had two hits and two RBIs in the St. Louis Cardinals' 5-2 victory Wednesday night.
''I'm going to trust it all year,'' Pineiro said. ''It's going to be the pitch I go to every time.''
The Cardinals backed him with a robust offense that beat up on
, scoring five or more runs for the seventh straight game.
''If it's September and we're getting 5-6 runs a game, then it would be a good time to talk about it,'' manager
Tony La Russa
said. ''But we're taking hungry at-bats.''
had an RBI apiece for the Cardinals, who will go for a three-game sweep Thursday with
. St. Louis has won nine of 12 since a 1-2 start, including six in a row at home.
Maine (0-2) matched his career worst with five walks while attempting to fine-tune his delivery. He left trailing 5-1 with
the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth. The right-hander has a 7.47 ERA and nine walks in 15 2-3 innings.
''I know I'm a better pitcher than this,'' Maine said. ''I'm working hard between starts and I'm just not getting the results
''A lot of times I'm making the pitches I want to make, I'm just a hair off.''
The Mets have lost three in a row while getting outscored 15-8.
''Our starting pitching has to be something we can depend on and count on,'' manager
said. ''Right now, other than Johan (Santana), for the most part it's been a struggle.''
Manuel also is looking to energize the lineup and said he'd move
up two spots to third in the order Thursday, switching places with
had an RBI single in the third and Beltran hit an RBI double off
in the ninth for his third hit.
earned his fourth save in four chances by getting pinch-hitter
to pop up for the final out.
Pineiro (3-0) retired 13 straight hitters on 35 pitches beginning with the final out of the fourth, all but three of them
on ground balls. He was pulled after Wright's leadoff double in the ninth.
Pineiro pitched to contact, walking two for the first 3-0 April start of his career while improving to 8-2 with a 3.61 ERA
in 16 career games at Busch Stadium.
''I'm going to keep riding that as long as I can,'' he said. ''That's going to be my game plan no matter if I'm at Wrigley
Field, Coors Field, whatever field I am.''
A lifetime .082 hitter, he also singled in the seventh and drew a leadoff walk and scored in the third.
The St. Louis defense contributed a couple of nice plays, with Thurston making a diving stab at third with two on and two
outs in the fourth to rob
, and shortstop
going deep into the hole to throw out
in the seventh. Left fielder
reached into the stands to snare Murphy's foul fly in the first.
Pujols, who entered the game tied for the NL RBI lead with 16 along with teammate
, had a sacrifice fly in the first and a run-scoring single in the third. He is 5-for-11 with two homers and 11 RBIs against
Maine was in trouble every inning except the fifth, when he retired the 3-4-5 hitters on eight pitches after Pineiro had an
eight-pitch top half. Duncan followed Pujols' RBI single in the third with a run-scoring groundout for a 3-0 lead, and Thurston
had an RBI triple and scored on Schumaker's single in the fourth to make it 5-1.
Notes: Questions have been raised about the limited views of the playing field from the visitors' bullpen at Citi Field, the
Mets' new ballpark. The commissioner's office is working on it with the Mets, baseball spokesman Pat Courtney said. ... Ludwick,
among the league leaders with a .370 average and tied for the lead in homers (five) and RBIs (16), was the odd man out in
the four-man outfield rotation. He popped up as a pinch hitter with the bases loaded against
to end the sixth, but La Russa said Ludwick would start the next four games. ... According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the
Mets' 6-4 loss Tuesday was their first under Manuel in which they led by at least four runs. ... Greene walked his first three
times up, giving him five straight over two games, before flying out in the sixth. ...
is 7-for-12 against Pineiro after going 1-for-3 with a single to start the game. ... Duncan was 0-for-4, ending a 13-game
hitting streak to start the season.