It's a shame that Chris Carpenter, who battled hard and long for the Redbirds, didn't get the victory.
But at least the Cardinals were able to rally in the ninth inning with a pair of homers to win their fifth consecutive series to start the season by a 9-4 score over the Diamondbacks.
Carpenter, who was plunked on the left wrist by Arizona starter Edwin Jackson early in the game, regained his composure after the benches cleared in the fallout of the situation and threw seven strong innings and left the game with a 3-2 lead in the eighth. But Trever Miller was unable to hold down the D-Backs, allowing an inherited runner to make it to third on a single before throwing a wild pitch to let the tying run cross the plate.
Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter examines the welt left after he was hit with an Edwin Jackson pitch Wednesday night against the Diamondbacks. AP photo.
Colby Rasmus, who hit a homer in the first inning to give St. Louis its original lead, hit a two-strike solo shot in the top of the ninth to give the Cardinals their lead back 5-4. Catcher Yadier Molina singled and was bunted to second by David Freese. Brendan Ryan then doubled to make it 6-4 and pinch hitter Felipe Lopez singled to make it first and third for Skip Schumaker who homered to right field to make it 9-4.
Ryan Franklin recorded an efficient ninth inning -- despite the fact that it wasn't a save situation -- with a pair of strikeouts and a groundout to third to end the game.
Carpenter screamed at Jackson from the batters box and during the entire walk to first base where he also gave the umpire an earful as a large welt appeared on his wrist. Schumaker hit a double play ball to short and -- despite the fact that he was 10 feet from the bag or more when the out was recorded -- Carpenter went in standing up like he was going to bowl over the Arizona second baseman. The pair exchanged words, causing the benches to briefly clear. As he walked off the field, Carpenter talked with Diamondbacks first base coach Matt Williams and calmed down.
But it was remarkable how the Cardinals ace was able to put the incident behind him and continue to pitch well. Carpenter again had trouble locating his pitches but seem to become sharper as the game went on. Hopefully, he's getting his feel back and will have to labor less in upcoming games.
While I was worried that Carpenter was going to retaliate and get ejected from the game, exposing the suspect Cardinals bullpen, the incident may turn out to be a good thing. Sometimes these sorts of things, when teammates are put in the position to defend each other, help teams to bond.
The win marked the first time in franchise history that the Cardinals won their first five series to start a season.
Cardinals sluggers Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday combined to go 1-9 in the game.
Cardinals Star of the Game:Rasmus, who in addition to his two homers also tripled Wednesday night. It was his first multi-homer game of Rasmus' brief career.
Cardinals Play of the Game: Rasmus' second homer turned around the momentum of a game that looked like it was slipping away from St. Louis.
Lowlight: Miller's wild pitch -- with two strikes -- was a disappointing way to let a game the Cardinals nursed all night slip away.
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