Chris Carpenter certainly looked like he’s prepared to make a stretch run for the playoffs. The Cardinals ace pitched a complete-game shutout against the Astros in a 7-0 win, Monday.
The reigning National League Cy Young winner only gave up six hits and struck out six batters. He’s now tossed two complete games in his last three starts.
Ronnie Belliard was the main cog offensively driving in four runs, including a bases loaded triple in the fourth inning. Juan Encarnacion had two RBI and Scott Rolen chipped in with one RBI.
With 14 of the Cardinals final 20 games against divisional teams, St. Louis leads the NL Central by five games over the Reds and six over the Astros. After this series, the Redbirds have one more set with Houston on the road.
Taylor Buchholz, starting in place of Andy Pettite, lasted just 3.1 innings, allowing five runs – two earned – and walking four batters.