Cardinals rally late to beat Brewers, 5-1
Pineiro (7-9) benefited from three double plays and faced just one batter over the minimum. He struck out five and walked none while throwing 100 pitches.
St. Louis won two of three against Milwaukee to increase its lead in the NL Central to two heading into a four-game, three-day series against the Chicago Cubs starting Friday.
A day after blowing a 4-1 lead, the Cardinals rallied once Brewers starter Manny Parra departed.
Parra, in his first start since being demoted June 13, was just as good, allowing three hits and a walk and departing after seven innings with a 1-0 lead before the Brewers bullpen faltered.
The left-hander struck out seven and worked around five baserunners, but the first six Cardinals’ hitters in the eighth reached.
Reliever Carlos Villanueva allowed a single to pinch-hitter Skip Schumaker and a triple to Brendan Ryan that tied the game. Villanueva (2-5) left for Mitch Stetter, who walked pinch-hitter Jason LaRue.
Stetter was yanked for Todd Coffey and Albert Pujols doubled in the go-ahead run. Ludwick followed with his 13th homer this season to the Brewers bullpen in left-center field. Pinch-hitter Rick Ankiel singled next, but was caught stealing.
Pineiro had been 1-4 in his last six starts despite not allowing more than three runs in any of them. Heading into the eighth, it looked like it would be more of the same even as his ERA fell from 3.39 to 3.20.
Pineiro’s only mistake came in the fifth when Prince Fielder led off with a double, advanced to third on Casey McGehee’s groundout and scored on Mike Cameron’s single through the left side of the drawn-in infield.
But Pujols, who had been 1 of 10 in this series and 5 of 27 this year against the Brewers until the eighth, came through in the clutch and Ludwick’s shot gave Pineiro plenty of cushion to finish it.
NOTES: It was Pineiro’s 12th complete game of his 10-year career. He previously had shutouts on May 19 and June 23 this season. ... Pineiro also went 2 for 4 from the plate. ... Brewers 3B Bill Hall (family death) missed the game. He’s expected back on Friday. ... Brewers RF Corey Hart missed his second straight game after fouling a ball off his lower left leg on Tuesday night.
Last updated: 10:59 am Thursday, December 13, 2012