The Cardinals again showed their versatility on Monday when they won a pitchers' duel that included timely hitting and stellar defense.
Joel Pineiro, who was firmly in the doghouse at the beginning of spring training, is the class of the St. Louis rotation right now, improving his record to 4-0 with his defeat of the Braves by a 3-2 score.
He pitched 6 2/3 innings and scattered seven hits to allow two earned runs. Pineiro registered only one strike out -- following his last win when he had none -- but it hardly mattered. He was a ground ball machine ... and he didn't issue a single free pass. He has a tidy 3.76 ERA so far this season.
Ryan Franklin had a mercifully uneventful ninth inning to solidify his grip on the closer's job.
At the plate, the major difference in the game was the fact that the Cardinals were 3-for-6 with runners in scoring position while Atlanta was 1-for-8
Cardinals Star of the Game: Rick Ankiel was 2-for-4 with two of the Cardinals three RBIs. He raised his batting average to .250 and seems to be coming around with the lumber.
Lowlight: I can't think of anything to complain about. Who would have figured that.