PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Pirates are convinced it was a preview of better things to come in what has been another terrible season. The St. Louis Cardinals prefer to think of it as a one-weekend anomaly that won't soon be repeated.
Paul Maholm pitched 6 2/3 shutout innings, Jason Bay and Joe Randa hit consecutive homers and the last-place Pirates finished off a three-game sweep of division leader St. Louis, beating the Cardinals, 7-0, Sunday.
"Every series we play right now is big," said Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols, whose team was outscored, 17-3, in the series.
Asked what the Cardinals could take out of the weekend, Pujols said, "Nothing. What positives can you take out of a sweep? Nothing."
Maholm (5-10) became the latest left-hander to give the Cardinals problems, giving up eight hits but getting key outs when needed.
"It was our finest weekend of the season," Manager Jim Tracy said. "And with four starting pitchers who are 24 or younger, it's getting more and more interesting by the day."