PNC Park | 7:05 | Maholm vs. Joel Piniero | Box
It was a good night at the ball yard. For a change. Nate McLouth as a single shy of the cycle and knocked in five runs. Paul Maholm went eight plus, giving up just two runs for his ninth win.
In the “can’t believe everything you read” category, Joel Pineiro started even though the Cards official site listed Brad Thompson. He gave up a two run homer to McLouth in the third and was lifted after giving up a bases loaded, three run double to McLouth in the fifth.
The Cardinals offense was stagnant against Maholm. Only one runner reached third base before the ninth inning, when Maholm tired and yielded to Romulo Sanchez with the bases loaded, one run in and no one out. Sanchez induced a run scoring DP from Nick Stavinoha and ended the game with an Adam Kennedy fly out.
Maholm also drove home a pair of runs with a single in the six run fifth that busted the game open. He has three RBI on the year. Brian Bixler has just two. Former Bucco Josh Phelps walked twice, singled and scored for St. Louis. Former Pirate Opening Day starter Ron Villone gave up one run in one IP.
Brad Thompson started the season in the Cardinals rotation. When Joel Pineiro was ready, Thompson was pushed into the bullpen and this will be just his third start since April. He is 5-2 with a 4.61 ERA in 54-2/3 IP so far in 2008. He has yet to face Pittsburgh in 2008. He has made 10 relief appearances against Pittsbugh in his career. In 15 career IP, his ERA is 3.60 and his record is 2-1.
Ryan Doumit (2-2) and Nate McLouth (2-3) are doing well in limited exposure to Thompson.
Paul Maholm will be looking for win #9. In a testimony to the team’s second half offensive struggles, Maholm was 6-5 with a 3.93 ERA in the first half of the season, but is just 2-3 despite a 3.39 ERA in the second half. He has split two decisions against St. Louis this year. He beat them in his last start on May 31.
In six career starts against the Red Birds, Maholm is 2-3 with a 2.72 ERA in 36-1/3 innings. The Cards are a collective 31-115 against Maholm. Albert Pujols is 7-14 with a homer.