Pittsburgh at St. Louis

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Pittsburgh (2-2)001000000110
St. Louis (2-2) «00000020x281

Cards' Carpenter, two relievers combine to one-hit Pirates

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ST. LOUIS -- Chris Carpenter looked like his old self, the one with dominating form that won a Cy Young Award.

Following a pair of injury decimated seasons, Carpenter took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning in his first start this year and combined with two relievers on a one-hitter to lead the St. Louis Cardinals over the Pittsburgh Pirates 2-1 Thursday.

"It was fun to get out there and pitch, compete in a real game, and give my team a chance to win," Carpenter said. "This was the first time in a long time I felt as good as I do now."

Carpenter was 51-18 from 2004-06 but then was 0-2 in 21 1/3 innings during the past two seasons. He had not won since Game 3 of the 2006 World Series.

"When he's healthy, like he is right now, he's as good as anybody," manager Tony La Russa said. "He didn't give them anything to hit."

Carpenter (1-0) didn't allow a hit until Ramon Vazquez singled just under the glove of second baseman Skip Schumaker with two outs in the seventh. Schumaker made a poor throw to second on a potential inning-ending double play the previous at-bat, nearly pulling shortstop Khalil Greene off the bag on Brandon Moss' grounder and getting only a forceout.

Schumaker was an outfielder before the Cardinals released Adam Kennedy on Feb. 9.

Carpenter threw 92 pitches, and La Russa said he would have removed him no matter what after seven innings.

Pittsburgh had scored an unearned run in the third against Carpenter following an error by first baseman Albert Pujols. The 2005 NL Cy Young winner, Carpenter didn't pitch from April 1, 2007, until last July 30 because of an elbow injury that required reconstructive surgery and he made just four appearances totaling 15 1/3 innings last season.

Carpenter struck out seven and walked two, improving to 10-1 with a 2.06 ERA in 12 starts against Pittsburgh.

Ryan Franklin and Dennys Reyes followed with an inning each of perfect relief, with Reyes getting his third career save, his first since Sept. 27, 1999 against the Cardinals in Cincinnati. The gap of nine years, 192 days between saves was the longest since Boston's Curt Schilling got his first save in 13 years, 77 days on July 19, 2005, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Rookie Jason Motte, who won the closer's job in spring training, hasn't pitched since allowing four runs in the ninth inning of the Pirates' 6-4 win in the opener.

La Russa said he went with Reyes, a left-hander, because the Pirates had two left-handed hitters and a switch-hitter coming up. After Reyes got Nate McLouth and Ryan Doumit on groundouts, pinch hitter Craig Monroe, a right-handed hitter, flied out.

St. Louis beat Pittsburgh for only the second time in seven games and split an opening four-game series.

Yadier Molina and pinch-hitter Brian Barden had RBI singles in the seventh against Ross Ohlendorf (0-1), who allowed seven hits over six innings in his sixth major league start.

Pittsburgh went retired in order five of the first six innings, with Carpenter getting three groundouts in the first on only seven pitches. There were few difficult plays, with Moss' flyout to end the fourth the only ball to make it past the infield before the seventh.

"He was just filthy," said the Pirates' Freddy Sanchez. "He was throwing what he wanted when he wanted and you have to tip your hat. He was unreal."

Pujols made two questionable choices in the third. First, he bounced a throw to second on Ohlendorf's attempted sacrifice for an error that put runners at the corners with one out. Then, after making a nice stab on Nyjer Morgan's smash, he threw wide to the plate as Vazquez beat the tag on a play that was ruled a fielder's choice.

"That's aggressive, and he almost pulled off both of them," La Russa said.

Notes

  • Sanchez was 0-for-4, ending a string of three multihit games to start the season for Pittsburgh, which had 17 hits in a 7-4 victory on Wednesday.
  • Ryan Ludwick singled in the seventh and has hit in a career-best 14 straight games dating to last season.
  • Pujols singled in the first and has reached base in 21 straight games against the Pirates dating to 2007.
  • Morgan, the Pirates' left fielder, made an outstanding running catch on Ludwick's foul fly ball in the fourth, leaping off the padded wall at the finish.
  • Jack Wilson is 1-for-26 with no RBI against Carpenter.
 
Copyright 2015 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 flirts with a no-no before settling for one hit over seven innings. He also K's 7. (AP)
Chris Carpenter flirts with a no-no before settling for one hit over seven innings. He also K's 7. (AP)

Players of the Game
St. Louis

C. Carpenter
IP 7.0
H 1
ER 0
BB 2
K 7
Pittsburgh

R. Ohlendorf
IP 6.0
H 7
ER 2
BB 1
K 1
 

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Pittsburgh Pirates
Nyjer Morgan, LF4001000 .316
Freddy Sanchez, 2B4000022 .444
Nate McLouth, CF4000002 .071
Ryan Doumit, C3000110 .125
Eric Hinske, 1B3000021 .222
   a- Craig Monroe, PH1000000 .000
Brandon Moss, RF3000001 .273
Ramon Vazquez, 3B2110110 .250
Jack Wilson, SS3000013 .375
Ross Ohlendorf, P2000000 .000
    Sean Burnett, P0000000 .000
   b- Andy LaRoche, PH1000010 .000
    Tyler Yates, P0000000 .000
Totals3011128  
a-flied out for Hinske in the 9th
b-struck out for Burnett in the 8th
Batting
RBI - Nyjer Morgan (4)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Brandon Moss 1
DP - J. Wilson-F. Sanchez-Hinske, Moss-Doumit
Pittsburgh Pirates
Ross Ohlendorf (L,0-1) 6722110 3.00
Sean Burnett 1100000 0.00
Tyler Yates 1000010 13.50
HBP - Ryan (by Sean Burnett)
Pitches-Strikes - Ross Ohlendorf 94-58, Sean Burnett 11-8, Tyler Yates 10-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ross Ohlendorf 6-10, Tyler Yates 1-1
Batters Faced - Ross Ohlendorf 25, Sean Burnett 4, Tyler Yates 3
St. Louis Cardinals
Skip Schumaker, 2B3010001 .250
   a- David Freese, PH1000003 .333
    Ryan Franklin, P0000000 .000
    Rick Ankiel, CF0000000 .154
Colby Rasmus, CF-LF4000004 .182
Albert Pujols, 1B4010001 .500
Chris Duncan, LF4010000 .300
    Dennys Reyes, P0000000 .000
Ryan Ludwick, RF4110022 .333
Khalil Greene, SS3110000 .235
Yadier Molina, C3021000 .286
Joe Thurston, 3B1000101 .444
   b- Brian Barden, PH-3B1011000 .200
Chris Carpenter, P1000000 .000
   c- Brendan Ryan, PH-2B0000000 .167
Totals2928212  
a-lined out for Schumaker in the 7th
b-singled for Thurston in the 7th
c-hit by pitch for Carpenter in the 7th
Batting
SH - Chris Carpenter (1)
RBI - Yadier Molina (3), Brian Barden (1)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
E - Albert Pujols (1, Throwing)
St. Louis Cardinals
Chris Carpenter (W,1-0) 7110270 0.00
Ryan Franklin (H,1) 1000010 0.00
Dennys Reyes (S,1) 1000000 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - Chris Carpenter 92-61, Ryan Franklin 15-11, Dennys Reyes 11-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chris Carpenter 12-4, Dennys Reyes 2-1
Batters Faced - Chris Carpenter 26, Ryan Franklin 3, Dennys Reyes 3
Game Information
Attendance - 35293
Game Time - 2:31
Temperature - 58
Umpires - Home - Marvin Hudson, First Base - Joe West, Second Base - Ed Rapuano, Third Base - Paul Schrieber