Dropping Matt Carpenter to second in the batting order is working for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Carpenter doubled, singled and walked twice, and the Cardinals overcame a short outing by Tim Cooney in his major league debut to beat the Philadelphia Phillies 9-3 on Thursday for their third straight win.
Carpenter scored in his first three times on base and has 21 runs in 21 games. St. Louis averaged 3.7 runs during a 12-8 start and has scored 25 runs in three games since Carpenter was dropped from the leadoff spot.
“When you get this offense really going, it’s one of the best in the majors, and right now everybody it seems is producing,” Matt Adams said.
Adams had three hits and drove in three runs – two on a tiebreaking homer. He had just three extra-base hits in the Cardinals’ first 18 games, but has three doubles and the homer in the last three.
“It seems like everything is starting to really come around on the offensive side, not just for me but the whole offense itself,” he said. “Things are really starting to click now.”
Cooney, a 24-year-old left-hander brought up from Triple-A Memphis before the game, was given a 3-0 lead but lasted 2 1-3 innings, allowing three runs and seven hits.
“I think it was, you know, always a tough assignment bringing a young kid in for his first one,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “We’ve seen him pitch much better than that, and I think he will in the future.”
Carlos Villanueva (2-1) followed and retired all 10 batters he faced. The Cardinals bullpen retired 19 of 21 hitters during 6 1/3 innings of one-hit relief.
With the score 3-3 in the third, Adams hit a two-run homer off David Buchanan (0-5), who became the first Philadelphia pitcher to lose his first five starts in a season since Kyle Abbott in 1992. Buchanan gave up seven runs, eight hits and three walks in 4 1-3 innings, leaving him with an 8.76 ERA. He is 0-8 in 14 starts since beating Houston on Aug. 6.
“I want my team to win a game that I pitch in,” Buchanan said. “I’m not out there for my record, I want my team to win in a ballgame that I pitch in, I don’t care how it happens.”
The Cardinals boosted their lead to 7-3 in the fifth when Matt Holliday hit his second RBI double and scored on Adams’ single. Jon Jay had a run-scoring single in the eighth, when Luis Garcia walked Jhonny Peralta with the bases loaded.
St. Louis built a 3-0 lead in the first when Carpenter and Holliday had consecutive RBI doubles, and Jason Heyward hit a run-scoring double-play grounder.
Odubel Herrera singled in a run in the second, and the Phillies tied the score in the third on Darin Ruf’s leadoff homer and a sacrifice fly by Cody Asche, Villanueva’s first batter.
St. Louis optioned C Cody Stanley to Memphis and transferred RHP Adam Wainwright from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list.
Phillies: RHP Jerome Williams, 2-1 with a 3.80 ERA in four outings, is to start Friday.
Cardinals: RHP Lance Lynn is slated for a series opener against Pittsburgh on Friday. He is 1-2 with a 3.63 ERA in four starts.
Phillies: RHP Chad Billingsley allowed two runs and five hits and struck out six in 5 2-3 innings during an injury rehabilitation start for Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
Cardinals: Wainwright had surgery Thursday to repair a torn left Achilles tendon. “Everything went well,” Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak said. “No surprises, which was probably the best news, and didn’t have to use any extra material to reattach the tendon. So now it’s rest and recovery for probably the next 6 to 8 weeks.”