St. Louis at Chicago

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St. Louis «012000200570
Chi. Cubs002000000281

Carpenter stumps Cubs, becomes league's first 17-game winner

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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CHICAGO -- Chris Carpenter is baseball's best pitcher, at least according to his manager.

Carpenter pitched another impressive complete game to become the first 17-game winner in the major leagues, and Albert Pujols hit a two-run homer Saturday in the St. Louis Cardinals' 5-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs.

Carpenter (17-4) threw an eight-hitter for his major league-leading sixth complete game, striking out eight and walking none to lower his ERA to 2.25. The only blemish came in the third inning when he gave up a two-run homer to Aramis Ramirez.

"He pitched nine innings against a tough offensive club -- that's dominating," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "He had a 2-0 pitch to a terrific hitter and he hit the ball out of the state. But that's the last run they got. That's outstanding pitching. No disrespect to anybody in either league who's doing great, but there's nobody greater than Chris. He's clutch."

Jon Garland of the Chicago White Sox had 16 wins going into his start Saturday night against Boston.

Carpenter gave up six hits in the first three innings, but quickly settled down to win his ninth straight decision. He retired 13 of 14 hitters between the third and seventh.

"I just try to continue to go out and give my team a chance to win," Carpenter said. "With the defense and offense we have playing behind me, you're going to win a lot of ballgames."

Cubs manager Dusty Baker thought his team had some chances early against Carpenter.

"The guy can pitch, but we had an opportunity to beat him today, just like we had an opportunity to beat him in St. Louis and he gets off the hook," Baker said. "He wasn't sharp early, he hung some breaking balls we hit hard, but we didn't find any holes."

The Cubs have lost nine of 11.

The game started after a 2-hour, 42-minute rain delay, and the Cardinals got their first run in the second inning. With runners on first and second with two outs, Mike Mahoney broke an 0-for-20 slump with an RBI single, scoring John Mabry from second.

In the third inning, Cubs starter Jerome Williams (3-6) walked leadoff hitter David Eckstein. One out later, Pujols hit a 2-1 pitch into the seats in right field. It was his 33rd homer of the season, giving St. Louis a 3-0 lead.

Leading 3-2 in the seventh, the Cardinals padded their lead on two aggressive hit and run calls. Cubs reliever Scott Williamson walked Carpenter to start the inning. With the pitcher running on the next pitch, Eckstein singled to right, moving Carpenter to third.

John Rodriguez followed with an RBI single to right. Eckstein, who was running on the pitch, went to third. With one out and the bases loaded, Abraham Nunez hit a bouncer to Ramirez at third base. Ramirez fielded the ball and touched third for the force, but threw wildly to Derrek Lee at first. The ball got by Lee, allowing Eckstein to score and giving the Cardinals a 5-2 lead.

Eckstein likes playing for La Russa because of his aggressive style.

"That's something Tony does a lot. I knew something was going to happen. We weren't going to sit still. We were going to put things in motion. I enjoy it," Eckstein said.

Matt Lawton led off with a single in the Cubs' third. With two outs, Carpenter gave up Ramirez's 29th homer. The ball landed on Waveland Avenue and cut the Cardinals' lead to 3-2.

Carpenter got some help in the sixth inning when Rodriguez jumped into the ivy in left and brought down Michael Barrett's drive.

Williams pitched six innings, allowing three runs and four hits. He struck out a season-high seven and walked four.

Notes

  • Chicago OF Jeromy Burnitz broke an 0-for-12 skid and a 3-for-36 slump with three hits.
  • Corey Patterson robbed Pujols of extra bases in the fifth with a sliding catch in center.
  • Carpenter's last loss came against Boston on June 8.
 
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 slams his 33rd home run of the season in the third inning. (AP)
Albert Pujols slams his 33rd home run of the season in the third inning. (AP)

Players of the Game
St. Louis

C. Carpenter
IP 9.0
H 8
ER 2
BB 0
K 8
St. Louis

A. Pujols
AB 5
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 2
 

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St. Louis Cardinals
David Eckstein, SS4210121 .271
John Rodriguez, LF4011021 .302
    So Taguchi, LF1010000 .294
Albert Pujols, 1B5112013 .339
Jim Edmonds, CF2000300 .265
Abraham Nunez, 3B4011102 .309
John Mabry, RF2100113 .265
Mark Grudzielanek, 2B4010013 .299
Mike Mahoney, C4011022 .155
Chris Carpenter, P2100112 .036
Totals3257571017 
Batting
2B - Abraham Nunez (10, Williams)
HR - Albert Pujols (33, Williams)
SH - John Mabry (4), Chris Carpenter (7)
RBI - John Rodriguez (11), Albert Pujols 2 (93), Abraham Nunez (35), Mike Mahoney (4)
2-OUT RBI - Mike Mahoney (3)
SB - So Taguchi (8, 2nd base off Wuertz/Barrett)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
DP - Grudzielanek-Pujols
St. Louis Cardinals
Chris Carpenter (W,17-4) 9822081 2.25
Pitches-Strikes - Chris Carpenter 109-70
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chris Carpenter 10-8
Batters Faced - Chris Carpenter 34
Chicago Cubs
Matt Lawton, LF4110000 .271
Todd Walker, 2B4010021 .296
Derrek Lee, 1B4010012 .349
Aramis Ramirez, 3B4112002 .304
Jeromy Burnitz, RF4030010 .260
Nomar Garciaparra, SS4000003 .203
Michael Barrett, C4000012 .282
Corey Patterson, CF3010000 .235
Jerome Williams, P2000022 .059
    Scott Williamson, P0000000 .000
    Will Ohman, P0000000 .000
   a- Todd Hollandsworth, PH1000010 .251
    Michael Wuertz, P0000000 .000
    John Koronka, P0000000 .000
Totals342820812 
a-struck out for Ohman in the 7th
Batting
2B - Jeromy Burnitz (25, Carpenter)
HR - Aramis Ramirez (29, Carpenter)
RBI - Aramis Ramirez 2 (86)
2-OUT RBI - Aramis Ramirez 2 (30)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
E - Aramis Ramirez (16, throwing error)
Chicago Cubs
Jerome Williams (L,3-6) 6433471 5.13
Scott Williamson 0.1222110 9.82
Will Ohman 0.2000100 2.67
Michael Wuertz 1.2100120 4.47
John Koronka 0.1000000 7.47
IBB - Edmonds by Michael Wuertz
Pitches-Strikes - Jerome Williams 113-68, Scott Williamson 16-8, Will Ohman 8-3, Michael Wuertz 33-21, John Koronka 5-3
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jerome Williams 6-5, Will Ohman 1-1, Michael Wuertz 1-2, John Koronka 1-0
Batters Faced - Jerome Williams 26, Scott Williamson 4, Will Ohman 3, Michael Wuertz 7, John Koronka 1
Game Information
Attendance - 39923
Game Time - 2:45
Temperature - 73
Umpires - Home - Mike Winters, First Base - Bruce Froemming, Second Base - Jerry Meals, Third Base - Hunter Wendelstedt