Chris Carpenter finally looked like Chris Carpenter Saturday, holding the Reds to two hits over seven innings in a 6-0 win.
He struck out eight, walked three and hit one while allowing no runs. Carpenter was staked to an early lead -- on yet another David Freese homer -- But he let Cincinnati get runners on first and third with one out. Never shaken, he slammed the door by getting Scott Rolen to ground into a picture perfect 6-4-3 double play to end the threat.
Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter throws a pitch Sunday against the Reds. AP photo.
The victory drug Carp's ERA down to 2.84 for the season. And it seems like his home run surrendering woes of the first time he faced the Reds this season are a distant memory.
The St. Louis offense pecked away, scoring single runs in the second, third and fifth innings before busting the game open in the seventh. The Reds walked Ryan Ludwick with Jon Jay and Nick Stavinoha on base to bring Albert Pujols to the plate. Pujols went 3-0 in the count before rifling a line drive to the left centerfield wall to clear the bases and make the score 6-0.
Freese was 3-for 4 on the day to raise his batting average to 355. He didn't hit a homer before April 29. But he's had three in the four games since then. He's 11 for his last 18.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Carpenter, who has improved to 4-0 on the season.
Cardinals Play of the Game: I the top of the second, Brendan Ryan made a ranging play up the middle, then spun and threw Jay Bruce out at first to rob the Reds rightfielder of a hit.
Lowlight: Colby Rasmus was hitless in four at bats, his third game in a row wearing the collar.