Chris Carpenter was finally scored up after 24 1/3 innings pitched. But he outlasted star-crossed Giants hurler Barry Zito to help the Cardinals hang onto their share of first place in the National League Central.
The game was frustratingly close until there were two outs in the eighth when, unlike the night before, the birds got a couple of clutch hits to extend a one-run lead two three runs. In the ninth Albert Pujols hit his second homer of the game to make it 6-2 and that's the way it ended.
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I hate to say it, because i really think he has a great arm in right field. But, after watching Colby Rasmus play there while he was on the disabled list, I like the Cardinals better with Rick Ankiel in centerfield.
Ankiel covers more ground, gets a better jump and plays smarter. When Chris Duncan was unable to make a catch early in the game, the former pitcher was right there to play the rebound off the wall and get the ball in. I believe Rasmus would have been standing around 20 yards away if he was in center tonight.
While Duncan is always an adventure in the field, he deserves credit for the two-out, go-ahead double that turned around the Redbirds' early deficit in the game. While they cranked out six runs, the Cardinals still aren't reaching anything near their offensive potential with Duncan not hitting for power and Ankiel and Ryan Ludwick trying to scrape off the rust after long layoffs due to injury.
Brendan Ryan is doing a great job now that he is getting a real chance to start at shortstop. He not only makes things exciting at the plate and on the bases, but the guy has great defensive skills. I have hope that if he was able to settle in and play one position on a regular basis that he would settle in and play even better.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Pujols
Lowlight: Chris Carpenter's ERA ballooned from 0.00 to 0.52 in the game. (Just kidding.)