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Chicago at St. Louis

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Chi. Cubs000000010130
St. Louis «001000001280

Bennett makes most of playing time, brings win for Cards

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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ST. LOUIS -- The first seven hitters in the St. Louis Cardinals' order were a quiet 3-for-27. It was the last two that the Chicago Cubs could not handle.

Chris Carpenter pitched eight sharp innings before leaving because of cramping, and seldom-used Gary Bennett homered and hit an RBI single with two outs in the ninth in a 2-1 victory on Saturday.

The pitcher and catcher combined for five of St. Louis' eight hits.

"The bottom of the order, they really hurt us today," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said.

Carpenter held the Cubs to two hits, struck out five and walked one. He threw 100 pitches, and took the mound to start the ninth. But after throwing a few warmups, the Cardinals ace consulted with trainer Barry Weinberg and manager Tony La Russa and left.

Carpenter said his toes, forearms and calves were cramping even though it was not an especially warm day with the gametime temperature at 78 degrees. He had troubles with dehydration earlier in the season, leaving a game with cramps in his fingers.

"I was trying as hard as I could to play it down and I went out there and everything -- my toes, my forearms and my calves -- were locking up," Carpenter said. "I wasn't going to go out there and hurt the team's chance to win."

Bennett has two straight three-hit games for the NL Central-leading Cardinals. St. Louis had entered the series in a slump that had dropped it into a virtual tie for first place with Cincinnati.

Bennett made his third straight start in place of catcher Yadier Molina, who's been hampered by tendinitis in his throwing elbow. He's likely to get at least a few more starts before Molina returns.

"It definitely doesn't hurt to see live pitching every day," Bennett said. "I'm not saying it's going to always translate into a bunch of hits, but you're going to have better at-bats, for sure."

Preston Wilson singled off Roberto Novoa (2-1) with one out in the ninth and stole second. After Ronnie Belliard fouled out, Bennett singled to left-center field and Wilson scored easily.

Randy Flores (1-1) allowed a hit in the ninth.

Carpenter held the Cubs without a hit until Phil Nevin's opposite-field single to right with two outs in the fifth. The Cubs didn't advance a runner past first base until Nevin's 12th homer tied it at 1 with one out in the eighth.

"I think I'm the only guy he made a bad pitch to," Nevin said. "In fact, I joked with him down at first base when he got there that he's never straightened one out like that for me."

Cubs reliever Bob Howry escaped a bases-loaded jam in the eighth that featured the second single of the game by Carpenter, a .132 hitter. Scott Rolen fouled out for the third out after Albert Pujols was intentionally walked.

Bennett hit his third homer, all coming in the last eight games, off Rich Hill with one out in the second.

Bennett has only 134 at-bats all season, fewest among players who have been with the Cardinals all season. He's 8-for-11 in his mini-stint as the regular, and all three of his homers have come in the last eight games.

Hill worked seven innings and gave up one run on four hits with two strikeouts and no walks, and was removed after warming up to start the eighth. He rebounded from a pair of difficult starts this month in which he allowed 11 runs in 10 2/3 innings.

"Now the confidence level is over with," Hill said. "Just going out there and getting the job done is the bottom line."

Cardinals rookie left fielder Chris Duncan, who misplayed three balls that ended up as doubles on Friday, made the best defensive play behind Carpenter. Duncan swerved to correct his bead on a drive to the gap before leaving his feet to snare Freddie Bynum's drive near the track in the first.

Notes

  • The Cubs' Ronny Cedeno is in a 3-for-30 slump.
  • The Cardinals are 12-15 when Pujols goes hitless, although they've won the first two games of the series without him. Pujols is a combined 0-for-7 thus far.
  • Cardinals CF Jim Edmonds, who struck out four times with a walk on Friday in his first start since leaving an Aug. 15 game with blurred vision and dizziness, struck out as a pinch-hitter in the eighth.
 
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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Chris Carpenter is his usual dominating self, lasting eight innings while walking just one batter.  (AP)
Chris Carpenter is his usual dominating self, lasting eight innings while walking just one batter. (AP)

Players of the Game
St. Louis

G. Bennett
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 1
RBI 2
Chicago

P. Nevin
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
 
Chicago Cubs
Juan Pierre, CF4010000 .282
Freddie Bynum, 2B4000011 .261
Aramis Ramirez, 3B3000000 .286
Michael Barrett, C3000020 .317
Jacque Jones, RF2000110 .279
Phil Nevin, 1B3121001 .246
Matt Murton, LF3000002 .291
Ronny Cedeno, SS3000010 .241
Rich Hill, P2000000 .125
    Bob Howry, P00000001.000
   a- Angel Pagan, PH1000000 .281
    Roberto Novoa, P0000000 .200
Totals28131154 
a-grounded out for Howry in the 9th
Batting
HR - Phil Nevin (21, Carpenter)
RBI - Phil Nevin (63)
Team LOB - 1
Chicago Cubs
Rich Hill 7411021 5.81
Bob Howry 1200110 3.09
Roberto Novoa (L,2-1) 0.2211000 4.79
IBB - Pujols by Bob Howry
WP - Rich Hill (2)
Pitches-Strikes - Rich Hill 93-61, Bob Howry 18-11, Roberto Novoa 12-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Rich Hill 7-12, Roberto Novoa 1-1
Batters Faced - Rich Hill 25, Bob Howry 6, Roberto Novoa 4
St. Louis Cardinals
Aaron Miles, SS4010002 .267
Chris Duncan, LF3000001 .331
    So Taguchi, LF0000000 .266
   a- Jim Edmonds, PH-CF1000012 .260
Albert Pujols, 1B3000110 .322
Scott Rolen, 3B4000013 .310
Juan Encarnacion, CF-RF4010000 .278
Preston Wilson, RF-LF4110001 .265
Ronnie Belliard, 2B4000001 .285
Gary Bennett, C4132000 .239
Chris Carpenter, P2020000 .132
    Randy Flores, P0000000 .000
Totals332821310 
a-struck out for Taguchi in the 8th
Batting
HR - Gary Bennett (3, Hill)
SH - Chris Carpenter (9)
RBI - Gary Bennett 2 (18)
2-OUT RBI - Gary Bennett (5)
SB - Preston Wilson (8, 2nd base off Novoa/Barrett)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Belliard-Miles-Pujols, Belliard-Pujols
St. Louis Cardinals
Chris Carpenter 8211151 2.96
Randy Flores (W,1-1) 1100000 4.71
Pitches-Strikes - Chris Carpenter 100-64, Randy Flores 7-4
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chris Carpenter 12-6, Randy Flores 2-0
Batters Faced - Chris Carpenter 26, Randy Flores 3
Game Information
Attendance - 46036
Game Time - 2:23
Temperature - 78
Umpires - Home - C.B. Bucknor, First Base - Adam Dowdy, Second Base - Wally Bell, Third Base - Mark Carlson