Hosting the Cardinals on Sunday night was an exciting moment for the Pittsburgh Pirates, even though St. Louis won 6-5. It marked the first time since 1996 that ESPN broadcast a Sunday night game from Pittsburgh.

However, playing on Sunday night is old hat for the Cardinals, perennially one of the best teams in the major leagues. It is so old that manager Mike Matheny is tired of it.

It marked the second Sunday in a row the Cardinals played at night, as they faced the Cubs at Chicago a week earlier. The Cardinals didn't arrive in Atlanta until 4 a.m. Monday, then had a game that night against the Braves.

The Cardinals are facing the same situation again as they open a four-game home series against the Cubs on Monday night. Sunday's night game did not end until just after midnight, and their charter flight wasn't scheduled to leave until close to 2 a.m. EDT.

ESPN can show a team up to six times on its Sunday night broadcasts. When the Cardinals have complained to the network and Major League Baseball in the past about so many late-night games, they got nowhere other than to be told it is a compliment to be on national television so frequently.

"I think a little more consideration needs to be given to the fact that it beats a team up," Matheny said. "I'd like to see the scheduling allow for something that maybe only happens if you have an off day the next day, where you can catch up and are not just thrown back into the saddle.

"I know that's hard to do, but that reply that 'consider yourself lucky' doesn't mean anything to us. Our job is to win games, and I feel this is something that affects us one way or another."