Cardinals 4, Mets 3.
There's no doubt that Chris Carpenter still isn't exactly straightened out. He labored mightily Friday night and still struggled at times to locate his pitches.
But there is also no doubt that 80 percent of Chris Carpenter was more than the Mets could handle.
Carpenter struck out 10 over seven innings and allowed only four hits and one unearned run. He walked three and worked deep into the count often. But gone were the uncharacteristic homers that Carpenter gave up in his first two starts.
Cardinals infielder Felipe Lopez rounds the bases after hitting a grand slam Friday night against the Mets. It was the fifth one of his career. AP photo.
The only runner to dent the plate against Carp came on a botched rundown between third and home when shortstop Brendan Ryan made a bad throw. It looked for a long time as if the lone run was all the Mets would need because the St. Louis offense coundn't get anything going until the seventh inning when third baseman David Freese hit an infield single and was sacrificed to second base. Second baseman Skip Schumaker was hit by a pitch and then Matt Holliday -- who didn't start because he wasn't feeling well -- came into the game and drew a walk.
Up came Felipe Lopez who found a pitch to drive and hit a line drive homer over the head of Mets left fielder Jason Bay into the Mets bullpen to give the Cardinals a 4-1 lead.
Blake Hawksworth and Dennys Reyes combined to get out of an eighth inning jam before Ryan Franklin came into the game and surrendered a line drive base hit on the first pitch he delivered. He got an out and then gave up a long double to make it second and third with one out. Mets pinch hitter Jeff Francoeur singled to cut the St. Louis lead to 4-2 and Jose Reyes grounded out to shortstop to score another run and make the game 4-3 with the tying run on second. Luis Castillo grounded out to short to end a nail biter and give the Cardinals a 7-3 record for their first 10 games.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Carpenter
Cardinals Play of the Game: Lopez's grand slam.
Lowlight: Franklin isn't instilling any confidence in his recovery from his late 2009 woes with three hits and two earned runs allowed in one inning pitched. It's also worrisome that he threw 10 pitches, nine of them were strikes and eight of those were hit... hard.