It was great Thursday night to see Chris Carpenter being Chris Carpenter again.
The Cardinals ace threw seven very strong innings, allowing five hits and an earned run to the powerful Philadelphia lineup. Carpenter walked one and struck out seven batters before turning the game over to bullpen after 126 pitches.
The St. Louis hitters chased Roy Oswalt off the hill after the second inning. The former Astros ace allowed five hits and four runs before departing with complaints of lower back pain.
With a one-run lead, Colby Rasmus, Skip Schumaker and Tony Cruz singled back-to-back-to-back to push one run across the plate to start the second inning. Carpenter bunted the runners to second and third and then Daniel Descalso struck out. But, with two outs, Ryan Theriot singled to center to score two more and make the game 4-0 in favor of St. Louis.
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The teams traded runs in the sixth inning. Then the Redbirds paid the Phillies back for Tuesday night's nine-run eighth inning with a six-run eighth. The Cardinals scored a couple of runs with the help of a couple of walks and a hit batsman. Then Lance Berkman put the bow on top of an important win with an opposite field three-run homer.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Carpenter.
Cardinals Play of the Game: Jon Jay cracked a solo homer in the first to give the Redbirds a lead that they never surrendered.
Lowlight: I don't mean to be nitpicky and complain about Skip Schumaker getting picked off third base with one out in bottom of the seventh inning in a 6-1 game. But, with the Cardinals bullpen blowing five-run leads like they grow on trees, it made me more than a little bit nervous when it happened.