The Cardinals and Chris Carpenter insisted that he would be ready for opening day which is a week from Thursday, but Monday’s performance was anything but reassuring.

Carpenter gave up five hits and four runs in the top of the fourth inning against the Washington Nationals with the first five batters reaching base and the first, four scoring to give the Nats a 4-0 lead. Carpenter got out of that inning and pitched two thirds of an inning before coming out in the fifth. He threw 85 pitches with 51 strikes while allowing four earned runs on seven hits with a walk and a strikeout.

Chris Carpenter comments on his outing

In the 7th inning, Cardinals right-hander and former Nationals pitcher Miguel Batista hit shortstop Ian Desmond with a pitch. As he was walking toward first base, Desmond was arguing with Albert Pujols. Both benches emptied, but no punches were thrown.

The two teams scuffled for about 15 minutes with Nationals manager Jim Riggleman and Cardinals skipper Tony La Russa having a few words.