With the luxury of knowing that the Cubs lost their day game to the Dodgers, the Cardinals took the field Saturday night with a chance to extend their National League Central Division lead to eight games.
Still smarting from being shut down by San Diego on Friday, the Cardinals batters were ready to do some damage, starting off hot with three runs in the first when Matt Holliday homered with Albert Pujols and Brendan Ryan aboard the bases.
And, suddenly, the Cardinals have the largest lead in baseball, eight games ahead of Chicago...
Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter improved his MLB leading ERA to 2.16 and tied Adam Wainwright at the top of the NL wins list with 14 on the strength of seven shutout innings against San Diego.
While the Cardinals can give themselves a pat on the back for the expansion of their cushion in the standings, the team refused to celebrate what some consider its 10,000 victory. According to Redbirds brass, the don't count wins achieved from 1882-1891 when the club was known as the Browns or Brown Stockings and played in the American Association. Officially, they consider 1892, when the team joined the National League, as its inaugural year.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Chris Carpenter needed to get a win for the Cardinals with the team losing on Friday and rusty John Smoltz taking the hill on Sunday. And he got the job done and then some with seven shutout innings with only three hits allowed. Carpenter walked three and struck out six in a dominating performance.
Lowlight: Three strikeouts in a game for Albert Pujols? I have to admit that Albert's new slump is starting to become alarming.