Joel Pineiro worked ground ball magic and the St. Louis Cardinals infielders fielded their positions flawlessly leading the Cards to a 3-0 win over the New York Mets.Â Mets starter Livan Hernandez gave his team another quality start, his eighth in fourteen starts, but the defense made it’s first error of the season behind Hernandez, allowing an unearned run and that was all the Cardinals would need in support of Pineiro.
Pineiro not only pitched well but hit well and ran the bases intelligently.Â He led of the 3rd inning with a double.Â Brendan Ryan then attempted a sacrifice bunt which Hernandez quickly fielded.Â As Pineiro realized he couldn’t make it to third and retreated back to second base, Hernandez wheeled to throw to third but seeing Pineiro go back to second, then threw to first base too late putting runners on first and second with no one out.Â Skip Schumaker then hit a sharp ground ball to first baseman Daniel Murphy who made a low throw to Alex Cora covering second base that bounced away for an error on Murphy, allowing Pineiro to score.Â Pineiro also singled in the 4th inning and wound up 2 for 4 on the night.
The Cardinals added 2 insurance runs in the 7th when Albert Pujols hit a bases loaded single driving in Ryan and Schumaker.
Pineiro was clearly the number 1 star of the game.Â In addition to his hitting prowess he pitched a complete game shutout in which he allowed only 2 hits and 1 walk.Â He recorded 22 of the 27 outs on ground balls.
The low point of the game for the Mets aside from Murphy’s throwing error may have been the bottom of the 6th inning.Â Luis Castillo led off with a walk, then manager Jerry Manuel called a hit and run play with the pitcher at the plate (editor’s note:Â in a post game TV interview Livan Hernandez took responsibility for calling the hit and run himself.Â Perhaps even more bizarre than Manuel calling it).Â Hernandez swung and missed at a low outside pitch and Castillo was gunned down at second base.
The high point of the game for the Mets aside from Hernandez’ quality start was the 2 innings of relief pitching from oldtimer newcomer Elmer Dessens.Â Dessens sent the Cardinals down 1-2-3 twice, recording 5 ground balls of his own along with one strikeout.
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