Brad Lincoln sharp as Pirates blank Cardinals

ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Cardinals had their ace on the mound, facing a rookie making only his third start of the season. The matchup turned out to be perfect for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Brad Lincoln pitched six scoreless innings and participated in a smackdown of Chris Carpenter with an RBI double and walk in a 7-0 victory on Saturday.

"You've got to have confidence going out there and you've got to believe in your stuff and what got you here and what makes you who you are," Lincoln said. "If you go out there with a doubt in your mind that you're not going to get the job done, then I say bad things are going to happen.

"You've just got to go out there and attack and be who you are and don't let anybody dictate what you can do."

Josh Harrison had a career-high three RBIs and matched his career best with three singles. Garrett Jones also had three hits with a pair of doubles and Neil Walker homered for Pittsburgh, which shut out the Cardinals in St. Louis for the first time since an 11-0 victory on Sept. 3, 2007.

Harrison was having so much fun he forgot he'd been miked by Fox for the telecast.

"We've got quite a few young guys, but we've also got a few veterans in here who have helped us," Harrison said. "We can help each other because we're all in the same boat."

The Pirates got spotless work from a rookie for the second time in four games, following Aaron Thompson's 4 1/3 innings in his major league debut at home against the Brewers on Monday. Kevin Correia (oblique) may be out for the year and Paul Maholm (shoulder strain) also is on the 15-day disabled list.

"We thought we had some depth in the organization and in the system," manager Clint Hurdle said. "We got to see that firsthand, up close and personal the last four games."

Carpenter (8-9) lost for only the third time in 15 career decisions against Pittsburgh, trudging through five innings while giving up six runs and nine hits. He allowed five or more earned runs at home for the first time since Sept. 15, 2010 against the Cubs.

"Obviously, it's not what you're looking for," Carpenter said. "I made some good pitches, I made some bad pitches and gave up too many runs."

The 26-year-old Lincoln (1-0) scattered six hits with four strikeouts and a walk to earn his second career victory. He's hit a pair of high notes, the other victory coming on a four-hit shutout at Chicago on June 30, 2010.

Lincoln had an RBI double for his first career extra-base hit in the fourth and walked and scored in the sixth. He is now a career .350 hitter (7 for 20) with four RBIs.

The Cardinals loaded the bases with two outs in the sixth on singles by Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday and a walk to Lance Berkman before Lincoln struck out Skip Schumaker.

Carpenter entered with 2.67 ERA at home and had worked eight innings three times in his last five appearances, including Monday when he limited the Dodgers to one run on five hits and left leading 1-0 in a 2-1 loss. This was not his worst outing -- he gave up eight runs in four innings April 12 at Arizona.

"You have 30-some starts during the year, you're going to have some rough ones," manager Tony La Russa said. "This was one of his rough ones. It ended up not being much of a contest."

Jones doubled with two outs and scored on Harrison's single to put the Pirates ahead in the second. Pittsburgh batted around against the Cardinals' ace in a four-run fourth that featured an RBI double by Lincoln and Harrison's two-run single.

Walker hit his 11th homer, and third against the Cardinals, to make it 7-0 in the fifth. La Russa finally paid a visit to the mound after Jones and Harrison followed with singles, but with no one warming up.

La Russa used the same lineup for victories Thursday and Friday and had said he wouldn't switch until the Cardinals lost, but changed his mind after Friday night's game. Pujols, Holliday, Berkman and Yadier Molina were the only players in the same spots.

Game notes
Pirates 1B Derrek Lee (broken left wrist) played catch like an NFL quarterback before the game, throwing to a trainer and having the return relay flipped from another trainer. ... Wearing a bright orange polo shirt, Illinois basketball coach Bruce Weber threw out a first pitch. ... RHP Kyle Lohse (11-8, 3.73) seeks his 100th career victory in the series finale on Sunday, facing Jeff Karstens (9-7, 3.09). Karstens is 5-3 with a 3.03 ERA on the road. ... Jones is batting .409 (9 for 22) against Carpenter with four doubles, a homer and four RBIs. ... The Pirates have 10 shutouts, seven of them on the road, and have blanked every NL Central opponent.