ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa has a lineup with the pitcher batting eighth for the first time since last July, before the Matt Holliday trade.

La Russa put pitcher Chris Carpenter hitting ahead of shortstop Brendan Ryan on Tuesday night against Atlanta.

The Cardinals are off to a 12-7 start, but have often struggled to score. La Russa says this type of lineup gives him a pair of leadoff hitters after the first time through the order.

La Russa batted the pitcher eighth 55 times last year.

"The offense is not going crazy, so it's not like I'm messing with it," La Russa said. "I like the lineup. I think it creates more opportunities for us to score, which is the bottom line."