Chris Carpenter didn’t have enough gas for the shutout or the complete game, but it’s safe to say that no one in the Cardinals organization had anything bad to say about his performance Monday. He led St. Louis to a 6-1 win in Cincinnati on Monday.
Carpenter (10-4) took a shutout into the ninth inning before allowing a leadoff home run to Felipe Lopez. He then walked Rich Aurilia with no outs. Carpenter was pulled for Ray King who put down all three batters he saw to preserve the win for the Cardinals.
Carpenter allowed four hits and struck out eight batters, to become the first St. Louis pitcher to reach double-digit wins this season. He’s the fifth pitcher in the majors to win at least ten games, joining Jon Garland, Dontrelle Willis, Roy Halladay and Livan Hernandez.
Cardinals’ left fielder Reggie Sanders was personally responsible for giving Carpenter a 3-0 lead by the fifth inning. In the third he doubled to center field to drive in Albert Pujols. He struck again in the fifth with a two-run homer, his 14th, off starter Aaron Harang.
The Birds went on a three-run rally in the seventh to make it 6-0. Abraham Nunez drove in David Eckstein with a single to center. Harang was replaced by reliever Ryan Wagner, whose first challenge was Albert Pujols. The Cardinals’ first baseman wasted no time, tagging the second pitch he saw over the right field fence for a two-run homer. Pujols has 18 home runs and 61 RBI’s which are both third-best in the majors.
St. Louis’ lead remains at 9 ½ games in the Central Division, as they improved to 22-5 against divisional foes.