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St. Louis at Houston

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St. Louis «001000001271
Houston000000000090

Carpenter, Cardinals shut out offensively challenged Astros

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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HOUSTON -- The Houston Astros can make almost any opposing pitcher look great these days. It was Chris Carpenter's turn Friday night.

Carpenter pitched eight mostly dominant innings, and Albert Pujols hit a solo homer in the ninth to lead the St. Louis Cardinals to a 2-0 win over the Astros.

"I was fortunate that we got a couple of runs and I was able to get out of a couple of jams," Carpenter said. "I made my pitches."

Carpenter (8-3) became the latest pitcher to stifle the Astros' punchless offense, striking out six and walking two for his fourth win in five starts. Julian Tavarez got three outs for his third save.

Carpenter gave up eight hits and joined a list of starters that ranges from teammate Mark Mulder to Atlanta's Tim Hudson to Milwaukee's Doug Davis in keeping Houston scoreless for at least seven innings.

"He was outstanding," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "You have to give Houston some credit, though. They generated enough offense tonight that they shouldn't have gotten shut out."

The Astros have been shut out a major league-leading 10 times this season, including a 9-0 loss to Cincinnati's Aaron Harang on Monday.

"I don't know if we're pressing or not," said Astros shortstop Adam Everett, who went 3-for-3 with a double. "We had some opportunities today, and we hit the ball hard but just right at someone."

St. Louis found the perfect opponent for a rebound after splitting a four-game series with lowly Colorado.

Jim Edmonds' run-scoring double in the third gave the Cardinals a 1-0 lead, one that would prove too much to overcome for the worst-hitting club in the majors.

The Astros bungled a couple of prime opportunities to score in the fifth.

With Everett on third and pitcher Andy Pettitte at first, rookie outfielder Willy Taveras failed to get a bunt down on a squeeze and Everett was caught in a rundown.

Taveras followed with a liner to right, but So Taguchi scooped up the ball and easily cut down the plodding Pettitte at the plate to end the inning. That ugly sequence was followed by a loud chorus of boos from the crowd of 34,092.

Astros manager Phil Garner insisted that third base coach Doug Mansolino's decision to wave Pettitte around was the correct one, especially for a club struggling to generate offense.

"I want to send him," Garner said. "If they make a play or a throw, then that's fine."

Pettitte, never known for his foot speed, wasn't so sure.

"I know I'm slow but I don't think I'm that slow," he said. "Obviously, I don't think I should have went."

Pettitte (3-6) allowed five hits in seven innings, striking out five with no walks. But his solid effort was wasted - again - as the Astros came up with nothing against Carpenter.

"I feel for him," Garner said. "This was one of his better games this season."

Pujols backed Carpenter in the ninth with a solo shot that bounced off the replica 1860 railroad tracks atop the 58-foot wall in left. It was his 13th homer of the season.

Notes

  • St. Louis improved to 15-4 in the first game of a series.
  • Pettitte singled in the fifth, his first hit of the season. He was 0-for-15 before that.
  • Cardinals OF Reggie Sanders stole two bases in the sixth for his first multisteal game of the year.
  • The Astros went with an all-rookie outfield of Chris Burke, Taveras and Todd Self for the second straight game.
  • Fans were evacuated from their seats about 45 minutes before the game after a fire alarm went off. The alarm sounded after a water flow sensor activated in the upper concourse of the ballpark, and fans were soon able to return to their seats.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Albert Pujols points skyward after his ninth-inning home run, the second in his last 14 games.  (AP)
Albert Pujols points skyward after his ninth-inning home run, the second in his last 14 games. (AP)

Players of the Game
St. Louis

A. Pujols
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
St. Louis

C. Carpenter
IP 8.0
H 8
ER 0
BB 2
K 6
 
St. Louis Cardinals
David Eckstein, SS4010001 .300
Jim Edmonds, CF4011010 .279
Albert Pujols, 1B4121022 .335
Reggie Sanders, LF3010113 .242
Mark Grudzielanek, 2B4000002 .328
Scott Seabol, 3B3000000 .259
    Abraham Nunez, 3B1000000 .273
So Taguchi, RF3000000 .233
Yadier Molina, C3010000 .258
Chris Carpenter, P3110010 .074
    Ray King, P0000000 .000
    Julian Tavarez, P0000000 .000
Totals32272158 
Batting
2B - Jim Edmonds (14, Pettitte), Yadier Molina (6, Pettitte)
HR - Albert Pujols (13, Springer)
RBI - Jim Edmonds (34), Albert Pujols (43)
SB - Reggie Sanders 2 (7, 2nd base off Pettitte/Ausmus, 3rd base off Pettitte/Ausmus)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
Outfield Assists - So Taguchi 1
DP - Pujols, Grudzielanek-Eckstein-Pujols, Nunez-Pujols
PB - Yadier Molina (3)
E - Chris Carpenter (1, Wild throw)
St. Louis Cardinals
Chris Carpenter (W,8-3) 8800260 3.42
Ray King0100000 3.29
Julian Tavarez (S,3) 1000010 2.43
Pitches-Strikes - Chris Carpenter 115-72, Ray King 1-1, Julian Tavarez 7-4
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chris Carpenter 5-9
Batters Faced - Chris Carpenter 30, Ray King 1, Julian Tavarez 2
Houston Astros
Willy Taveras, CF4020001 .261
Todd Self, RF3000010 .195
   a- Mike Lamb, PH1000001 .200
    Russ Springer, P0000000 .000
Craig Biggio, 2B4010021 .284
Lance Berkman, 1B3010101 .241
    Eric Bruntlett, PR0000000 .160
Morgan Ensberg, 3B4010031 .276
Chris Burke, LF3000102 .192
Adam Everett, SS3030000 .240
Brad Ausmus, C3000003 .243
Andy Pettitte, P2010000 .063
    Chad Qualls, P0000000 .000
   b- Orlando Palmeiro, PH-RF1000010 .305
Totals310902710 
a-flied out for Self in the 8th
b-struck out for Qualls in the 8th
Batting
2B - Adam Everett (14, Carpenter)
CS - Adam Everett (4, Home by Carpenter/Molina)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Everett-Berkman, Everett-Biggio-Berkman
Houston Astros
Andy Pettitte (L,3-6) 7511050 3.47
Chad Qualls 1100000 5.33
Russ Springer 1111101 8.64
Pitches-Strikes - Andy Pettitte 96-64, Chad Qualls 12-6, Russ Springer 14-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Andy Pettitte 9-7, Chad Qualls 2-0, Russ Springer 1-1
Batters Faced - Andy Pettitte 26, Chad Qualls 3, Russ Springer 4
Game Information
Attendance - 34092
Game Time - 2:30
Temperature - 72
Umpires - Home - Jerry Meals, First Base - Mike Winters, Second Base - Bruce Froemming, Third Base - Mike Winters