April 10, 2009

Cards' prerequisites met vs. Astros

A few things occurred for the St. Louis Cardinals during their 5-3 win over the Houston Astros Friday night that will be paramount to success throughout the upcoming season.

A) The Cardinals scored first. A run in the first inning and a couple in the third gave starting pitcher Joel Pineiro a three-run lead with which to work.

B) The starting pitcher lasted longer than four or five innings. Starter Pineiro went 6.2 innings, and while he scattered eight hits, he only gave up two runs. He threw to 26 Astros, 95 pitches, 64 of them for strikes. A particularly good achievement which would add to long-term success is the amount of ground outs Pineiro tossed; 14 ground outs/3 fly outs.

C) An answering and add-on offense. Although the Cardinals only accumulated six hits spread over only three hitters (Skip Schumaker, Chris Duncan, and Ryan Ludwick), the lineup was willing to take eight walks and one HBP. Continuing along that line, five different Cards scored the five they finished with to win 5-3.

The Cardinals didn't add-on exclusively, but did answer Astros run-scoring in two out of three innings. After the Astros' Lance Berkman doubled home Hunter Pence in the sixth inning, Schumaker doubled home Rick Ankiel in the bottom of the frame. After Cards' reliever Josh Kinney walked home a free run for the Astros in the top of the seventh, Ryan Ludwick answered with a solo homer in the bottom half of the inning. The only failure on answering came in the eighth inning when Astro Carlos Lee hit a solo home run.

April 10, 2009 -- vs. Astros