ST. LOUIS -- Swinging a bat was just fine for Brad Penny, who hit a grand slam in the third inning. Pitching was another matter.
The St. Louis Cardinals right-hander aggravated an upper back injury from the previous start and had to leave the cushion he created with the bullpen after only three innings of a 9-5 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Friday night.
The Cardinals were unsure of the severity of the injury and scheduled an MRI exam for Saturday morning.
"It was something I was trying to deal with between starts," Penny said. "I couldn't have pitched that last inning, there was no way. The first inning, I felt incredible. The second inning, I felt OK and the third inning, I started feeling a little worse."
Penny said he didn't inform the team after his last start in Cincinnati, in which he allowed seven runs on 13 hits in five innings, that something felt wrong. Manager Tony La Russa said that wasn't unusual, that players are constantly judging whether they're hurt or just sore, but admitted concern.
"My mood stinks, so you'll have to suffer with me," he told reporters. "I'm definitely worried. I'd like to find out."
General manager John Mozeliak said right-hander P.J. Walters was being recalled from Triple-A Memphis, but wasn't certain who he'd be replacing. The Cardinals could place either Penny or reliever Blake Hawksworth (groin) or both on the 15-day disabled list.
"I don't know the move," Mozeliak said. "We'll just see how things go. One at a time."
Penny and Joel Pineiro, the pitcher he replaced in the Cardinals' rotation, were both gone after three innings.
Pineiro (3-5) entered with 17 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings, but was clubbed for nine runs on nine hits against the team that allowed him to leave as a free agent after a 15-win season. Penny was shaky for the second straight start while giving up four runs on five hits.
"Just overall, it was embarrassing," Pineiro said. "They just hit me around."
Jason Motte (2-1), the third St. Louis pitcher, struck out two in two perfect innings.
Felipe Lopez followed Penny's third career homer, and first since 2003, with a solo shot that barely cleared the wall in right and was the first confirmed by video replay at Busch Stadium.
Lopez also had an RBI triple and Colby Rasmus had a two-run triple for the Cardinals, who are 4-1 since Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday switched spots in the order, although the pair was a combined 0 for 4 with an intentional walk the first three innings while St. Louis was building a 9-4 lead.
Tied at 4 after two, the teams combined for 10 hits, a wild pitch, passed ball and hit batter before the first strikeout: Juan Rivera to end the top of the third.
"A lot of offense, that's for sure," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Both bullpens settled it down. Our guys kept us in the game and their guys kept the lead."
Skip Schumaker drew an intentional walk to load the bases with two outs in the third before Penny, who had been 2 for 18 with a pair of singles, hit the first pitch from Pineiro well over the left-field wall for an 8-4 lead.
"I left a hanging slider to Penny," Pineiro said. "I knew he was coming out swinging."
Penny threw a few warmup tosses before the top of the fourth before catcher Yadier Molina signaled to the dugout that something was wrong, and the right-hander walked off the mound after a short meeting with La Russa and a trainer. Penny thought he might have gotten stiff sitting in the dugout in the third when the Cardinals batted around.
Pineiro threw a four-hit shutout against Oakland in his previous start, following 6 1/3 scoreless innings against the Rays. A 15-game winner for the Cardinals last season, his first start against St. Louis since 2004 had hideous results.
The Cardinals totaled 14 runs the first four games of the homestand.
Angels starters entered with a 2.44 ERA over the previous 13 games, a number that ballooned to 3.25 after Pineiro's shortest outing since Aug. 5, 2006, when he allowed four runs on eight hits in 2 2/3 innings for the Mariners against the Athletics. He worked into the fourth, but did not get anybody out, May 5, 2008, at Colorado when he was with St. Louis.
Reliever Trevor Bell followed Pineiro and struck out four in three scoreless innings.
Cardinals Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Gibson bounced a ceremonial first pitch before the game. Fans received miniature Gibson statues. ... Scioscia said Maicer Izturis, eligible to come off the DL on Friday from a shoulder injury, has extended his throwing to 120 feet and could return next week. ... Angels pitchers issued two intentional walks after totaling four the first 43 games.