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Chicago at St. Louis

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Chi. Cubs (21-17)000000001161
St. Louis (23-17) «00010010x260

Carpenter sharp in return as Cardinals edge Cubs

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

ST. LOUIS -- Five scoreless innings from Chris Carpenter was plenty for the St. Louis Cardinals in his first start off the 15-day disabled list.

The Cardinals want to keep their often-injured ace healthy, so manager Tony La Russa did his best to ignore Carpenter's steely-eyed stare.

"It was a good time to stop him," La Russa said after the Cardinals' 2-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday night. "He comes out of there in great shape, why mess with it?"

  Cardinals hold off on activating Ankiel

Chris Duncan snapped a 1-for-21 slump with two hits and an RBI and the bullpen allowed two hits and a run after Carpenter's 67-pitch outing, which was just a few pitches below his expectations. Carpenter said he didn't think La Russa heard him in the dugout when he responded, "Are you sure?" and then "just looked at him."

But he's been saying all week he'd pitch until they take the ball.

"I never argue the decision that they make," Carpenter said. "They're the boss."

Pinch-hitter Micah Hoffpauir had a two-out RBI single in the ninth and the Cubs had two men on before Ryan Franklin struck out pinch-hitter Reed Johnson for his 10th save in 11 chances. Franklin said it was his toughest outing aside from his lone blown save in Cincinnati on May 10.

"It's going to be [tough] against these guys anytime," Franklin said. "It's a tough three outs anytime in a series like this."

Khalil Greene, relegated to a utility role while mired in a 2-for-23 slump that has prompted anxiety issues, added a seventh-inning sacrifice fly as a pinch hitter that proved crucial.

Ryan Dempster (3-3) was the Cubs' second straight tough-luck loser, allowing six hits and two runs in seven innings. They've lost three in a row while scoring one run the first two games of a three-game series against their biggest rival.

Duncan's go-ahead hit came with the infield in.

"That's baseball. I've given up some rockets to some people, too," Dempster said. "Keep making pitches, that's all you can do."

Milton Bradley, who doubled and scored in the ninth, figured runs would be tough to come by against Carpenter.

"It's not like we were facing Joe Blow," Bradley said. "He's a pretty good pitcher."

Carpenter (2-0) gave up three hits in his first outing since he strained a left rib-cage muscle April 14 at Arizona, and also his 100th career start with the Cardinals. The Cardinals played it cautious with the 2005 NL Cy Young winner, whose timetable was pushed up a few days after a rainout last week.

Carpenter has not allowed a run in 15 innings over three starts. He's 8-3 with a 2.93 ERA in 15 career starts against the Cubs, and 3-1 with a 1.69 ERA in six starts against them at home.

The Cubs missed two shots to get to Carpenter, putting two men on with two outs in the first before first baseman Albert Pujols made a nice stab to his right on Bradley's grounder. Ryan Theriot was stranded at second after a one-out double in the third after Kosuke Fukudome flied out and Derrek Lee struck out.

Pujols legged out a leadoff double in the fourth on a ball up the middle to give the Cardinals their first runner in scoring position. He advanced on a sacrifice before scoring on Duncan's hit, which also ended an 0-for-14 slump.

Notes

  • The Cardinals are 5-3 against the Cubs this season, including 4-1 at home.
  • Dempster has worked at least six innings in all nine starts this season.
  • Alfonso Soriano was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts against Carpenter after entering the game batting .429 (12-for-28) with two homers and seven RBIs.
  • The Cardinals have used 39 different lineups in 40 games, and Wednesday's card was the sixth with the pitcher batting eighth.
  • Mike Fontenot was hitless in four at-bats and is in a 2-for-36 slump.
  • Joe Thurston is in a 2-for-28 slump for St. Louis.
  • Hoffpauir is 4-for-10 with three RBI as a pinch hitter.
  • The Cubs have scored four or more runs in all 21 wins and three or fewer in 14 of 17 losses.
 
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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Limited to 67 pitches, Chris Carpenter goes five scoreless innings in his return to the mound.  (AP)
Limited to 67 pitches, Chris Carpenter goes five scoreless innings in his return to the mound. (AP)

Players of the Game
St. Louis

C. Carpenter
IP 5.0
H 3
ER 0
BB 2
K 4
St. Louis

C. Duncan
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
 
Chicago Cubs
Alfonso Soriano, LF4000031 .272
Ryan Theriot, SS4010001 .287
Kosuke Fukudome, CF2000112 .319
Derrek Lee, 1B4010022 .230
Milton Bradley, RF3110113 .193
Mike Fontenot, 3B4000001 .200
Geovany Soto, C3010100 .202
    Ryan Freel, PR0000000 .136
Bobby Scales, 2B3000010 .296
   a- Micah Hoffpauir, PH1011000 .314
Ryan Dempster, P2000001 .095
   b- Aaron Miles, PH1010000 .218
    Carlos Marmol, P0000000 .000
   c- Reed Johnson, PH1000012 .232
Totals3216139  
a-singled for Scales in the 9th
b-singled for Dempster in the 8th
c-struck out for Marmol in the 9th
Batting
2B - Ryan Theriot (8, Carpenter), Milton Bradley (2, Franklin)
RBI - Micah Hoffpauir (14)
2-OUT RBI - Micah Hoffpauir (10)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Theriot-Scales-Lee, Scales-Theriot-Lee
E - Mike Fontenot (3, Dropped fly)
Chicago Cubs
Ryan Dempster (L,3-3) 7622230 4.40
Carlos Marmol 1000010 3.79
IBB - Pujols by Ryan Dempster, by Thurston
Pitches-Strikes - Ryan Dempster 103-67, Carlos Marmol 12-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ryan Dempster 13-3, Carlos Marmol 1-1
Batters Faced - Ryan Dempster 27, Carlos Marmol 3
St. Louis Cardinals
Skip Schumaker, 2B-RF4010000 .299
Colby Rasmus, CF4010021 .250
Albert Pujols, 1B3120100 .326
Yadier Molina, C2000002 .285
Chris Duncan, LF3121000 .262
Nick Stavinoha, RF2000011 .250
   a- Brian Barden, PH-3B0000000 .258
Joe Thurston, 3B-2B2000100 .232
Chris Carpenter, P1000000 .000
   b- Adam Wainwright, PH1000010 .190
    Kyle McClellan, P0000000 .000
   c- Khalil Greene, PH0001000 .202
    Jason Motte, P0000000 .000
    Dennys Reyes, P0000000 .000
    Ryan Franklin, P0000000 .000
Brendan Ryan, SS3000001 .261
Totals2526224  
a-hit a sacrifice bunt for Stavinoha in the 7th
b-struck out for Carpenter in the 5th
c-hit a sacrifice fly for McClellan in the 7th
Batting
2B - Colby Rasmus (6, Dempster), Albert Pujols (8, Dempster), Chris Duncan (12, Dempster)
SF - Khalil Greene (3)
SH - Yadier Molina (3), Brian Barden (1)
RBI - Chris Duncan (24), Khalil Greene (12)
SB - Joe Thurston (2, 2nd base off Dempster/Soto)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Chris Duncan 1
DP - Duncan-Ryan-Pujols
St. Louis Cardinals
Chris Carpenter (W,2-0) 5300240 0.00
Kyle McClellan (H,6) 2000020 2.33
Jason Motte (H,8) 0.2100010 4.11
Dennys Reyes (H,7) 0.1000010 3.55
Ryan Franklin (S,10) 1211110 1.56
HBP - Fukudome (by Kyle McClellan)
Pitches-Strikes - Chris Carpenter 67-41, Kyle McClellan 26-15, Jason Motte 12-8, Dennys Reyes 3-3, Ryan Franklin 21-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chris Carpenter 7-3, Kyle McClellan 2-2
Batters Faced - Chris Carpenter 19, Kyle McClellan 7, Jason Motte 3, Dennys Reyes 1, Ryan Franklin 6
Game Information
Attendance - 41703
Game Time - 2:28
Temperature - 77
Umpires - Home - Brian Gorman, First Base - C.B. Bucknor, Second Base - Mike Everitt, Third Base - Gerry Davis