Joel Pineiro tossed a two hit complete game shutout for a 3-0 win over the Mets.  Pineiro got 22 ground outs and used just 100 pitches.  He also singled and doubled at the plate.  Albert Pujols, had a two run single in the 7 th to add some cushion.  The rest of the division lost so the Cardinals added distance on the entire NL Central and are up two games on Milwaukee.

When Pineiro has his sinking fastball working, he is one of the toughest to hit.  Granted, the Mets are without three of their big bats with Jose Reyes, Carlos Delgado, and Carlos Beltran on the DL, but it was still an impressive performance.

The Cardinals really didn’t do much against Livan Hernandez.  The Mets’ starter falls to 5-2, but pitched well enough to win.  He did run into trouble in the third when Pineiro led off with a double and moved to third on a bunt single by Brendan Ryan.  He then scored on a force out.

Hernandez ran into trouble in the 7 th .  Ryan batting in the 9 th spot singled (2 for 4) and moved to third on Skip Schumaker’s ground rule double.  After Chris Duncan walked, Pujols singled up the middle to score Ryan and Schumaker.

I know Tony LaRussa has been criticized for batting the pitcher 8th, but I really like the strategy.  How many times have we seen the pitcher come up with a big hit or the number nine hitter get a big hit to roll over the top of the order.  As much as LaRussa likes to double switch and use relievers late in the game, having the pitcher’s spot come up in close situations past the seventh inning really doesn’t have an effect on the lineup.  The move certainly worked Tuesday night.