Johann Santana didn't outpitch Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter as much as he outdefended him.
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Chris Carpenter was nearly untouchable in a 3-2 loss to the Mets Thursday. He scattered four hits and didn't allow a walk over seven innings while striking out five. The only damage he took came in the fourth inning, sparked when an innocent ground ball toward second base glanced off his glove and past Joe Thurston.
If Carp would have let the ball go, it was headed right to the bag where Thurston appeared to be poised to step on second and throw to first for a double play. But instead the ball glanced off of Carp's glove to Thurston's left and the Cardinals got no outs on the play. Runners were at second and third and a double to right field scored a pair.
With the offense sputtering and a dominant pitcher on the hill opposing them, the Birds had almost no chance to catch up and one mistake in an otherwise excellent pitching performance sank the ship.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Despite the loss, Carpenter strengthened his case for a spot on the NL All-Star team with another dominant performance.
Lowlight: Ryan Ludwick was 0-for-4 as the offense continues to flounder. The Cardinals expect ludwick to be their second best offensive player. And he just isn't doing the sort of job that Jim Edmonds or Scott Rolen held down that job. The Cardinals are trying to make do on the cheap by not replacing "money" players with players who make any money. And this is another game that it cost them a chance to win.