The Cardinals finally broke through with a run in the ninth inning to give Chris Carpenter a beautifully pitched 1-0 win.
A last minute run was a fitting gift for Carpenter who was let down by the offense on a pair of games he should have easily won over the last couple of weeks. He improves to 9-1 for the season and it's hard to imagine that his record could be two or three games better. I wonder what it would be if his control was as good as it was last season.
Cardinals infielder Felipe Lopez is out at the plate in the first inning. The Cardinals would have to wait until they had two outs in the top of the ninth to score. But they beat Toronto 1-0. AP photo.
In two games against his former team, Carpenter has allowed four hits and no runs in 17 innings. He's struck out 17 Jays and walked five. Motivated much, big guy?
It shouldn't have been such a struggle. The Cardinals wasted a chance to score in the first inning when they had the bases loaded and no one out with the cleanup man at the dish. A pair of poor fielding plays allowed St. Louis to get the first two batters on base. Albert Pujols then hit a line drive right in front of the left fielder that couldn't score Felipe Lopez from second to fill the bases. And it all went down hill from there.
Nick Stavinoha, batting in place of Ryan Ludwick who is out with cramping in his calf, hit a groudner to first base. Lopez, who had a terrible lead, added insult to injury when he got a terrible jump toward the plate. Blue Jays first baseman Lyle Overbay went home with the play and Lopez was nailed by a step when he should have scored easily. David Freese and Colby Rasmus then struck out to end the inning harmlessly.
The second inning went about as badly. Yadier Molina led off with a walk and Randy Winn singled to put two on and two out. Just as soon as announcer Dan McLaughlin could mention that the Birds were forcing Toronto starter Ricky Romero to throw a lot of pitches early in the game, Brendan Ryan hacked away to hit a double play ball and Felipe Lopez swung at the first pitch to ground out for the last out in the inning. The Cardinals hitters paid for going to the plate without a plan by allowing Romero to pitch all the way through eight innings.
Cardinals Star of the Game: I planned to give it to Randy Winn because of his three-hit night... Until Matt Holliday golfed a full count drive to left to score the winning run. Holliday gets it for the fourth day in a row with a 2-for-5 night.
Cardinals Play of the Game: Holliday's game-winning hit.
Lowlight: Freeze was 0-for-5 with five runners stranded on base.