Cheap Seats

Cardinals vs. Astros, Aug. 1

Boy, Chris Carpenter was great Saturday night in a 3-1 win over Houston. But it still made me nervous when the bullpen displays that show the current pitcher's stats changed to award the Cardinals ace his 10th win BEFORE the start of the ninth inning.

Carp not only made the numbers stand up by pitching a complete game against the Astrols, he hit a double, took third on a wild pitch and scored the winning run on a sacrifice fly. And every step he took on the basepaths made me cringe. It's hard to watch after he missed a month of the season with a pulled rib cage muscle suffered while trying to provide some offense when he is paid to pitch.

As good as Carpenter was on the hiil, Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday was equally spectacular at the plate. He hit two homers to extend his hitting streak to nine games in a Redbirds uniform and raised his St. Louis batting average to .606. I think it's safe to say Holliday is the difference between the Cardinals being in first place by 1/2 a game and being 2 1/2 or 3 1/2 games out in second -- or third.

Cardinals Star or the Game: Carpenter and Holliday are going to have to split this one. Carpenter pitched a complete game and allowed only a Carlos Lee solo homer. But Holliday's two solo shots were enough runs to provide the difference in the game.

Lowlight: The Cubs continue to take advantage of a weak stretch in their schedule and kept pace by beating the Marlins.