|St. Louis (62-49) «||0||0||0||7||0||0||0||0||0||7||12||0|
CINCINNATI -- Skip Schumaker watched the ball fly as he headed for first base, unsure whether it had enough to create a little personal history.
Schumaker hit his first career grand slam during the St. Louis Cardinals' biggest inning of the season Monday night, providing Chris Carpenter with more than enough runs on that one swing to beat the Cincinnati Reds for the ninth time in a row.
The 7-3 win got the Cardinals off to an impressive start in their showdown for first place. St. Louis moved within one game of the Reds, who have been atop the division for the past week.
"It's a good start," Schumaker said.
St. Louis sent 12 batters to the plate for seven runs in the fourth, giving rookie Mike Leake (7-4) one of his worst moments in the majors. Schumaker's grand slam -- only his 19th career homer -- made it 6-0. The ball cleared the wall in center and landed next to the Reds' bullpen.
"That's the first time it's happened in my career," Schumaker said. "Everyone gets lucky once in a while. I probably hit it in the right park."
Balls tend to fly out of Great American Ball Park -- though not when Carpenter is on the mound, of course. Carpenter (13-3) has won his last nine starts against the Reds, a streak that started in 2006. He gave up five hits and a pair of runs in seven innings.
"I do the same things I do against anybody else," Carpenter said, trying to explain the streak. "I watch video every single time and see what has changed and what hasn't changed and put something together."
The crowd of 36,353 was revved for one of the most meaningful series in Great American Ball Park's eight-year history. The Reds haven't been in first place so late in a season since 1999, when they were playing at Cinergy Field.
The Cardinals left the fans silently sweating in their seats.
The teams have been locked in a back-and-forth race since mid-May, never separated by more than three games since then. St. Louis leads the season series 8-5. They meet only one more time, for a three-game series in St. Louis from Sept. 3-5.
For one of the few times, Leake looked like one.
St. Louis started the fourth with six consecutive hits. The clincher came from Schumaker, who hadn't played since Wednesday because of a sore left wrist. His grand slam landed next to the Reds' bullpen in center and got Leake uncharacteristically flummoxed.
Leake lost track of outs. He fanned Brendan Ryan for the second out in the fourth, then started jogging off the field. He realized his mistake just before reaching the foul line, turned around and gave up a single by Felipe Lopez. Manager Dusty Baker decided that was enough.
"That was a quick six," Baker said. "They got six in a span of 12 pitches. It happened so quickly that I didn't have time to get anybody warmed up."
In his last two starts, Leake has given up 14 runs (six earned) and 15 hits in 8 2/3 innings. He sat in the dugout with sweaty hair stuck to the side of his forehand and a faraway expression in his eyes.
"The big inning has been that way for the last few outings," Leake said. "I have to find a way to not do that. When the same thing keeps happening, it's not fun. I just have to stay focused. I feel great. I'm not tired at all. I'm just hitting a rough patch."
Carpenter had his way with the big lead, extending his streak of dominating an offense that leads the NL in batting, runs and hits. The right-hander beat the Reds four times last season, and now has beaten them four times already this season.
The Reds brought in another ex-Cardinal before the game, adding outfielder Jim Edmonds through a trade with Milwaukee. Edmonds played for Reds general manager Walt Jocketty in St. Louis. Edmonds started in center and went 0 for 4 with a strikeout.Notes
|Skip Schumaker (right) hits his first grand slam -- only his 19th career homer -- to propel St. Louis. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
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|St. Louis Cardinals|
|Felipe Lopez, 3B||5||1||1||0||0||1||0||.258|
|Jon Jay, RF||4||1||2||0||1||0||0||.375|
|Albert Pujols, 1B||4||1||2||1||1||0||1||.313|
|Matt Holliday, LF||4||1||2||1||0||1||3||.300|
|Colby Rasmus, CF||4||1||1||1||0||2||2||.273|
|Yadier Molina, C||4||1||2||0||0||2||1||.252|
|Skip Schumaker, 2B||4||1||2||4||0||1||1||.260|
|Chris Carpenter, P||3||0||0||0||0||1||1||.120|
|a- Allen Craig, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.200|
|Trever Miller, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Kyle McClellan, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.500|
|Brendan Ryan, SS||4||0||0||0||0||1||0||.220|
|a-struck out for Carpenter in the 8th|
|2B - Jon Jay (14, Leake)|
|HR - Skip Schumaker (4, Leake)|
|RBI - Albert Pujols (83), Matt Holliday (68), Colby Rasmus (49), Skip Schumaker 4 (31)|
|2-OUT RBI - Albert Pujols (34)|
|SB - Felipe Lopez (7, 3rd base off Fisher/Hernandez)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|DP - Pujols-Ryan|
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|Chris Carpenter (W,13-3)||7||5||2||2||3||5||0||2.89|
|Pitches-Strikes - Chris Carpenter 98-64, Trever Miller 13-8, Kyle McClellan 17-13|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chris Carpenter 9-6, Kyle McClellan 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Chris Carpenter 28, Trever Miller 4, Kyle McClellan 5|
|Brandon Phillips, 2B||5||0||0||0||0||1||2||.284|
|Laynce Nix, LF||3||0||1||0||0||2||0||.274|
|a- Chris Heisey, PH-LF||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.292|
|Joey Votto, 1B||3||0||1||0||1||0||1||.320|
|Scott Rolen, 3B||3||0||0||0||1||0||3||.298|
|Jim Edmonds, CF||4||0||0||0||0||1||1||.281|
|Jay Bruce, RF||1||1||0||0||2||0||0||.258|
|b- Miguel Cairo, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.298|
|Ramon Hernandez, C||4||2||3||2||0||0||1||.298|
|Paul Janish, SS||4||0||0||0||0||0||3||.287|
|Mike Leake, P||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.349|
|Carlos Fisher, P||1||0||0||0||0||1||1||.000|
|c- Juan Francisco, PH||1||0||1||1||0||0||0||.350|
|Bill Bray, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Logan Ondrusek, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|d- Jonny Gomes, PH||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||.274|
|a-popped out for Nix in the 8th|
|b-flied out for Bruce in the 9th|
|c-singled for Fisher in the 7th|
|d-singled for Ondrusek in the 9th|
|2B - Joey Votto (22, Carpenter), Ramon Hernandez (13, Carpenter)|
|HR - Ramon Hernandez (5, McClellan)|
|RBI - Ramon Hernandez 2 (34), Juan Francisco (5)|
|2-OUT RBI - Juan Francisco (1)|
|Team LOB - 7|
|DP - B. Phillips-Janish-Votto, Rolen-B. Phillips-Votto|
|PB - Ramon Hernandez (2)|
|Mike Leake (L,7-4)||3.2||9||7||6||0||2||1||3.75|
|Pitches-Strikes - Mike Leake 52-31, Carlos Fisher 60-33, Bill Bray 13-7, Logan Ondrusek 15-9|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mike Leake 5-3, Carlos Fisher 3-2, Logan Ondrusek 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Mike Leake 19, Carlos Fisher 14, Bill Bray 3, Logan Ondrusek 3|
|Attendance - 36353|
|Game Time - 2:38|
|Temperature - 90|
|Umpires - Home - Larry Vanover, First Base - Mark Wegner, Second Base - Mark Carlson, Third Base - Jeff Kellogg|