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Cards' Carpenter outduels Clemens for 14th win

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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ST. LOUIS -- Chris Carpenter started ahead of Roger Clemens in the All-Star Game, then topped him again a few days later.

The St. Louis right-hander outpitched Clemens to become the NL's first 14-game winner. He tossed a three-hitter and inadvertently played a major role in his team's big inning, leading the Cardinals to a 3-0 victory Sunday that completed a three-game sweep of the Houston Astros.

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa picked Carpenter to start for the NL on Tuesday over more heralded choices such as Clemens.

"I don't concern myself with what Roger does," Carpenter said. "The only thing I can do is give my team a chance to win and beat their lineup. Not beat Roger."

In his last eight starts, beginning with a victory at Houston on June 3, Carpenter (14-4) has allowed only five runs in 64 2/3 innings for a 0.70 ERA. This was his third shutout in that span, and his fourth of the season. It was also his fourth complete game this year and 17th of his career.

He's tied with Jon Garland of the White Sox, who won his 14th game on Sunday, for the major-league lead.

"It's always location. You run the ball down in the strike zone, you're going to get outs," Carpenter said. "I was able to get strike one to a lot of guys, which puts me on the aggressive and them on the defensive."

Carpenter went to three three-ball counts and allowed only singles to Craig Biggio in the first, Brad Ausmus in the third and Mike Lamb in the fifth. The first two were easily erased.

Lance Berkman followed Biggio's hit with a double-play ball, and Ausmus was an easy out trying to go for a double. The game lasted only 1 hour, 59 minutes.

In three losses to Carpenter this year, the Astros have managed one run and 15 hits in 24 innings.

"He was virtually 0-1 with whatever the percentage was, and then he used his offspeed stuff and his fastball to get guys out when they're behind," Morgan Ensberg said after going 0-for-3. "Textbook baseball. It's not rocket science."

Carpenter struck out nine and walked none, giving him 68 strikeouts and 11 walks in 66 2/3 innings in his last eight outings.

"Unfairly to him, you kind of expect him to go out and throw shutouts, and it's not that easy," teammate Scott Rolen said. "He's making it look easy. You tip your cap to Carp because he's throwing unbelievable."

Clemens (7-4), the 2004 NL All-Star Game starter, entered with a major league best 1.48 ERA and was almost as good. The exception was the Cardinals' three-run second, fueled by a pair of walks, Rolen's RBI double and first baseman Mike Lamb's throwing error that allowed two runs to score.

Clemens knew the way his former Toronto Blue Jays teammate was pitching, three runs was way too much of a cushion.

"He just did a number on us," Clemens said. "I don't think we really posed a threat to him."

With the bases loaded and one out, the .051-hitting Carpenter hit a tapper to first. Lamb tried to go for a home-to-first double play but threw wide to the plate. Carpenter was forced to dodge the throw as the ball sailed to the backstop. Rolen scored from third and So Taguchi scored from came in from second.

"I had no idea what he was doing," Carpenter said. "I looked up and he was firing the ball at my chest."

Lamb could have stepped on first and tried for a tag play at the plate, but manager Phil Garner didn't fault the strategy.

"You go ahead and throw the ball to the plate and if you get your double play, you get the double play," Garner said. "Where his mistake was, instead of drilling Carpenter with the ball he tried to throw it around him."

Clemens lasted seven innings, giving up three runs and five hits. He struck out only one, getting Carpenter on a called third strike in the seventh. Both of his walks came in the second, including a four-pitch pass to load the bases to Mike Mahoney, who has spent most of the season in the minors and had been 0-for-6.

Only one run was earned, the second in 53 innings on the road this year against Clemens. The loss was his first in five career decisions against St. Louis, and his first in eight starts overall since May 30.

The sweep was the second over the Astros this year by the Cardinals, who are 9-2 overall against Houston. The Cardinals have won nine of 11.

Notes

  • The Cardinals are 35-12 in Carpenter's starts the last two years.
  • Reggie Sanders, who injured a rib and sprained his right ankle on Friday, was out of the lineup for the second straight game.
  • The Cardinals have outscored opponents 133-80 the first two innings.
  • The Astros have scored 46 runs in Clemens' 19 starts.
 
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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Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter strikes out nine, giving him 68 K's in his last 66 2/3 innings.  (AP)
Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter strikes out nine, giving him 68 K's in his last 66 2/3 innings. (AP)

Players of the Game
St. Louis

C. Carpenter
IP 9.0
H 3
ER 0
BB 0
K 9
Houston

R. Clemens
IP 7.0
H 5
ER 1
BB 2
K 1
 
Houston Astros
Willy Taveras, CF4000030 .293
Craig Biggio, 2B3010010 .284
Lance Berkman, LF3000021 .292
Morgan Ensberg, 3B3000000 .288
Mike Lamb, 1B3010010 .220
Orlando Palmeiro, RF3000001 .295
Adam Everett, SS3000001 .244
Brad Ausmus, C3010010 .244
Roger Clemens, P2000010 .257
    Chad Harville, P0000000 .000
   a- Jose Vizcaino, PH1000000 .222
Totals28030093 
a-flied out for Harville in the 9th
Fielding
DP - Everett-Lamb
E - Mike Lamb (2, )
Houston Astros
Roger Clemens (L,7-4) 7531210 1.47
Chad Harville 1000100 6.38
Pitches-Strikes - Roger Clemens 90-61, Chad Harville 12-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Roger Clemens 9-11, Chad Harville 1-2
Batters Faced - Roger Clemens 28, Chad Harville 4
St. Louis Cardinals
David Eckstein, SS4000003 .279
Mark Grudzielanek, 2B4000002 .282
Albert Pujols, 1B4000000 .334
Jim Edmonds, CF3000100 .266
Larry Walker, RF3110101 .275
Scott Rolen, 3B3111001 .241
So Taguchi, LF3120000 .275
Mike Mahoney, C1010100 .143
Chris Carpenter, P3000012 .048
Totals28351319 
Batting
2B - Scott Rolen (12, Clemens)
SH - Mike Mahoney (1)
RBI - Scott Rolen (27)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Larry Walker 1
DP - Eckstein-Pujols
St. Louis Cardinals
Chris Carpenter (W,14-4) 9300090 2.34
Pitches-Strikes - Chris Carpenter 114-81
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chris Carpenter 11-5
Batters Faced - Chris Carpenter 28
Game Information
Attendance - 46584
Game Time - 1:59
Temperature - 88
Umpires - Home - Mike Everitt, First Base - Tim Timmons, Second Base - Chuck Meriwether, Third Base - Tim McClelland