JUPITER, Fla. (AP) -This type of outing was what St. Louis was hoping for when it signed Brad Penny to a $7.5 million, one-year contract in the offseason.
Penny threw four shutout innings to help the Cardinals beat the winless Washington Nationals 6-4 on Wednesday.
``He was nails,' St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said. ``He had good stuff. His location was outstanding. He was very impressive.'
The Cardinals were without sluggers Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday, who were scratched after batting practice. Pujols was supposed to be back in the lineup after being sidelined by back soreness but the problem resurfaced. Holliday had some soreness in his rib cage.
``Especially at this time of year it's better to go safe than sorry,' Holliday said. ``Whether it feels good enough to swing tomorrow or not, I probably won't. If this was two days before the season started I might be a little more concerned, but I've got time.'
La Russa expects Holliday to be out at least a few more days.
``He won't play this week, I'm sure,' he said.
Penny allowed one hit, struck out two and walked none in a much sharper effort than his spring debut. The right-hander gave up three runs and six hits in two innings against a Mets split-squad on Friday.
``I thought he was very good,' Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan said. ``He did some things today that he didn't do in his first outing. He was more aggressive early in the count, controlled the counts better and was able to use all his pitches. It was a good outing for him.'
Garrett Mock allowed two runs and five hits in three innings for the Nationals (0-8). Willie Harris and Ian Desmond had RBI triples during Washington's three-run sixth, and Justin Maxwell homered in the eighth.
The Associated Press News Service
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