|St. Louis (78-55) «||0||6||0||2||0||1||1||0||x||10||16||0|
ST. LOUIS -- Not much went smoothly for Chris Carpenter, who labored through six innings, got hit by a pitch on the left thumb and flubbed a bunt attempt.
Flawed but gritty was good enough to win his 10th consecutive decision, especially with a five-run cushion after the second. Skip Schumaker was 4 for 4 with two RBI, pacing a 16-hit attack as the St. Louis Cardinals clobbered the Milwaukee Brewers 10-3 on Wednesday night.
"It was definitely a strange night, and it wasn't very clean on my part," Carpenter said. "It was good enough to win, and I'll take it."
Yadier Molina had a pair of RBI doubles and finished with three hits for the NL Central leaders, whose 10½-game lead is the best in baseball. Troy Glaus, activated from the 60-day disabled list from a shoulder injury Monday, struck out as a pinch-hitter to end the sixth in his first at-bat of the season.
The Brewers had runners in scoring position every inning except the sixth, when Carpenter (15-3) retired the side in order in his final inning.
"I don't think he was at his sharpest," Brewers manager Ken Macha said. "But the sign of a good pitcher is when he's not sharp and he's able to give the innings and hold the other team down."
The St. Louis offense made those struggles a moot point, punishing Dave Bush (3-6) and the Milwaukee bullpen. The Cardinals have scored 17 runs in two games and will go for a sweep behind John Smoltz on Thursday.
The Cardinals are 31-4 since July 1 in starts by their big three of Carpenter, Adam Wainwright (16-7) and Joel Pineiro (14-9), and are season-best 24 games above .500. Although shy of his best stuff for the second successive start despite an extra day of rest, Carpenter is 10-0 with a 2.17 ERA in his past 12 outings and leads the majors with a 2.28 ERA.
"My command wasn't fabulous," Carpenter said. "But I don't believe you're going to be perfect every night."
The Cardinals, swept in a three-game series at home by Milwaukee in mid-May when the Brewers were 10 games above .500 and in first place in the Central, have taken six of the past seven in the season series. They were contending for the league's best record, not that manager Tony La Russa cared.
"It's a sign of a potential distraction for this team," La Russa said. "We need to crank out series and try to get to the finish line, and whatever the number turns out to be it turns out to be."
Bush lasted only 3 1/3 innings and allowed eight runs in his second start coming off a triceps injury from getting struck by a line drive, an injury that sidelined him for two months. Both of his post-injury starts have been messy and the right-hander is 0-6 with a 10.50 ERA in eight starts since his previous victory on May 19 at Houston.
Bush hit two batters, including Carpenter while he was attempting to sacrifice in the second, and leads the majors with 12 hit batsmen in only 89 innings.
"I'm having a hard time kind of putting it all together," Bush said. "Hitting the pitcher kind of put me behind the eight ball."
The Cardinals left the bases loaded in the first when Bush got Mark DeRosa on a flyout, then got untracked with six runs on six hits in the second. Pujols had a two-run opposite-field double on a pop fly down the right field line that eluded Catalanotto, and Schumaker had a two-run opposite-field single.
Carpenter is 9-0 with a 1.99 ERA against the Central this season and 35-12 for his career. However, it was his first victory against the Brewers since April 27, 2005, which evened his career record against Milwaukee to 3-3.
|Against the NL Central, Chris Carpenter improves to 9-0 with a 1.99 ERA this season. (US Presswire)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Felipe Lopez, 2B||4||0||0||0||1||3||2||.309|
|Frank Catalanotto, RF||4||1||3||0||0||0||0||.299|
|a- Mike Rivera, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.238|
|Ryan Braun, LF||5||0||1||0||0||2||4||.309|
|Prince Fielder, 1B||4||2||2||0||1||0||2||.300|
|Casey McGehee, 3B||4||0||2||2||1||0||2||.299|
|Mike Cameron, CF||4||0||1||1||0||1||4||.258|
|Jason Kendall, C||4||0||0||0||0||2||3||.242|
|J.J. Hardy, SS||4||0||1||0||0||1||1||.230|
|Dave Bush, P||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.125|
|Chris Narveson, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|b- Craig Counsell, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.289|
|Chris Smith, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Mitch Stetter, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Mark DiFelice, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|c- Jody Gerut, PH||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||.214|
|Carlos Villanueva, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.125|
|a-struck out for Catalanotto in the 9th|
|b-grounded out for Narveson in the 6th|
|c-walked for DiFelice in the 8th|
|2B - Ryan Braun (30, Reyes), Prince Fielder (28, Motte), Casey McGehee (15, Carpenter)|
|SH - Dave Bush (2)|
|RBI - Casey McGehee 2 (46), Mike Cameron (57)|
|2-OUT RBI - Casey McGehee (28), Mike Cameron (20)|
|Team LOB - 11|
|DP - F. Lopez-Hardy-Fielder, F. Lopez-Hardy-Fielder|
|Dave Bush (L,3-6)||3.1||11||8||8||2||2||0||6.47|
|IBB - Holliday by Mitch Stetter|
|HBP - Carpenter (by Dave Bush), Ryan (by Dave Bush)|
|WP - Chris Smith (1)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Dave Bush 79-48, Chris Narveson 26-17, Chris Smith 25-12, Mitch Stetter 24-9, Mark DiFelice 1-1, Carlos Villanueva 12-5|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Dave Bush 3-4, Chris Narveson 2-1, Mitch Stetter 1-1, Carlos Villanueva 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Dave Bush 24, Chris Narveson 7, Chris Smith 5, Mitch Stetter 5, Mark DiFelice 1, Carlos Villanueva 3|
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|Skip Schumaker, 2B||4||2||4||2||1||0||0||.301|
|Colby Rasmus, CF||4||1||1||0||0||1||3||.258|
|a- Ryan Ludwick, PH-RF||1||0||1||1||0||0||0||.266|
|Albert Pujols, 1B||5||1||2||2||0||0||4||.321|
|Dennys Reyes, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Matt Holliday, LF||4||1||2||1||1||1||3||.311|
|Rick Ankiel, RF-CF||3||2||2||0||2||0||2||.233|
|Mark DeRosa, 3B||4||0||0||1||0||0||6||.258|
|Yadier Molina, C-1B||5||1||3||2||0||0||1||.288|
|Brendan Ryan, SS||3||1||1||0||1||1||2||.290|
|Chris Carpenter, P||2||1||0||0||0||1||2||.160|
|b- Troy Glaus, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||1||.000|
|Jason Motte, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|c- Khalil Greene, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.208|
|Jason LaRue, C||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.227|
|a-doubled for Rasmus in the 7th|
|b-struck out for Carpenter in the 6th|
|c-grounded into a double play for Motte in the 8th|
|2B - Ryan Ludwick (16, Stetter), Albert Pujols (35, Bush), Matt Holliday (35, Bush), Yadier Molina 2 (20, Narveson, Smith)|
|SF - Mark DeRosa (5)|
|RBI - Skip Schumaker 2 (34), Ryan Ludwick (80), Albert Pujols 2 (113), Matt Holliday (90), Mark DeRosa (68), Yadier Molina 2 (46)|
|SB - Rick Ankiel (3, 2nd base off Narveson/Kendall)|
|Team LOB - 11|
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|Chris Carpenter (W,15-3)||6||8||3||3||3||4||0||2.28|
|Pitches-Strikes - Chris Carpenter 102-63, Jason Motte 33-20, Dennys Reyes 13-9|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chris Carpenter 11-3, Dennys Reyes 2-0|
|Batters Faced - Chris Carpenter 29, Jason Motte 8, Dennys Reyes 4|
|Attendance - 40214|
|Game Time - 3:05|
|Temperature - 71|
|Umpires - Home - Mike Muchlinski, First Base - C.B. Bucknor, Second Base - Mike Everitt, Third Base - Gerry Davis|