It was hard to find much fault with the Cardinals all-around play Thursday afternoon. The bats couldn’t be stopped and Chris Carpenter’s pitches, with the exception of the ones he threw in the second inning, were almost unhittable.
Carpenter became the National League’s first, and the major league’s second, fifteen-game winner as the Cardinals topped the Padres 11-3 in San Diego. Carpenter allowed three runs in the second inning, then proceeded to retire 18 of the next 20 batters he faced in his seven-inning performance. In his last eight starts, Carpenter is 7-0 with an ERA of 0.81.
The offense certainly gave Carpenter plenty to work with, scoring in every inning except the fifth and eighth. Jim Edmonds got the Cardinals on the board with a three-run homer in the first inning. It was his 18th of the season. Edmonds finished with five RBI’s—a feat he’s accomplished six times in his career.
David Eckstein made it 4-0 with an RBI single in the second inning before San Diego scored its only runs of the game.
Rookie John Rodriguez hit the third home run of his career, a solo shot, in the third inning to give Carpenter a 5-3 advantage.
Albert Pujols finished the game 3-for-4 with two RBI’s and two runs. He drove in a run with a swinging bunt in the fourth inning and an RBI triple in the sixth.
The Cardinals took two-of-three from the N.L. West leader, but St. Louis’ lead in the N.L. Central was cut to single digits this week. Houston, which has won five in a row and nine-of-ten trails by nine-and-a-half games.