St. Louis Cardinals defeat Houston Astros, 3-2

Empowered with a one-pitch answer to any situation he's thrown himself into this season, Joel Piñeiro left the mound Wednesday after another superb start followed by the biggest question of this career season.

"Why," he said, "did I wait eight years to learn a sinker like this?"

Piñeiro worked half of Wednesday's game without the safety net of a substantial lead, mixing ample doses of his sinking fastball with flashes of his glove for a 3-2 victory against Houston at...

The acquisitions of Matt Holliday, Mark DeRosa and Julio Lugo were supposed to infuse the Cardinals lineup with potent new elements of offense.

General manager John Mozeliak's shopping spree had all of the makings of a bonanza. The first two hitters in the lineup would set the table for No. 3 hitter Albert Pujols. And Pujols would benefit from the "protection" provided by Holliday, the gleaming new cleanup hitter. The stressed Ryan Ludwick would finally relax, ease into...