But few leadoff men in the game front their teams' offense as
well as Carpenter, a point made abundantly clear again in the St.
Louis Cardinals' 6-4 win over the Chicago Cubs at sold-out Busch
The third baseman had a hand in his team's first four runs, driving
in three. He could have easily had five RBIs, but first baseman
Anthony Rizzo snagged his line shot in the eighth, which was
ticketed for the right-field corner with two men aboard.
Through 12 games, Carpenter is tied with catcher Yadier Molina for
the team lead in RBIs with nine and is hitting .295 with a .411
on-base percentage. He's scored 10 of St. Louis' 48 runs.
"When you get up there in those situations, you find a way to get
those runs in," Carpenter said. "You just try to put a good at-bat
together and get the job done."
In the bottom of the second, with Chicago (4-8) ahead 2-0 after
Rizzo's two-run homer in the first, Carpenter tied the game with a
two-out, two-strike, two-run single up the middle which scored right
fielder Allen Craig and shortstop Jhonny Peralta. Carpenter then
stole second and rode home on an RBI single by second baseman Kolten
Two innings later, Carpenter cashed in a leadoff triple by center
fielder Peter Bourjos with a sacrifice fly to medium-deep left
field, giving the Cardinals (7-5) the lead for good at 4-3.
"With the kind of at-bats he takes," manager Mike Matheny said, "any
time that he's up with men on base, I like our chances to get the
run home. We saw the same thing from him last year."
Carpenter was a breakout star in last year's run to a National
League title, breaking a franchise record with 55 doubles, which
also led the majors, hits (199) and runs (126) as he batted .318
with 11 homers and 78 RBIs.
St. Louis' offense is showing signs of returning to last year's
form, when the Cardinals scored nearly five runs per game. It raised
its average 26 points over the last two games with the Cubs,
collecting 24 hits in the last two games.
Michael Wacha (2-0) picked up his second win of the week, overcoming
a quick deficit and a 46-minute rain delay in the third inning to
work 6 1/3 innings. Wacha allowed just five hits and three runs,
walking one and fanning eight.
"I was erratic but had good stuff," he said. "I had some quick
innings and that helped me out."
Peralta's run-producing double and Bourjos' RBI on a grounder that
third baseman Mike Olt booted, enabling Craig to score, gave the
Cardinals a 6-3 lead in the eighth.
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Chicago nearly pulled off a dramatic comeback off closer Trevor
Rosenthal in the ninth. Olt's single scored Junior Lake, who
tripled. Catcher Welington Castillo, who singled home the tying run
in the fourth, was hit by a pitch to put the tying run on first.
But second baseman Luis Valbuena flew out and center fielder Emilio
Bonifacio grounded out, enabling Rosenthal to notch his fourth save.
"We had him scuffling around a little bit," Rizzo said, "but we just
came up short. We've been scoring some runs, but we need to convert
some of those into wins."
Starter Edwin Jackson (0-1) worked six innings for the Cubs, giving
up eight hits and four runs while walking three and fanning five.
St. Louis starts an 11-game road trip Monday night in Milwaukee,
winners of nine in a row. Carpenter is looking forward to the
challenge of hitting the Brewers' solid starting pitching.
"They've got a good ball club over there," he said. "It should be a
NOTES: Before Sunday's game, Chicago optioned LHP Chris Rusin to
Class AAA Iowa and recalled RHP Blake Parker from Iowa. Rusin worked
five innings in relief on Saturday, allowing only one run and saving
a taxed bullpen. Parker threw three scoreless innings in three
outings for Iowa this season with a save. ... St. Louis announced
Sunday that veteran 2B Mark Ellis would begin a rehabilitation
assignment of up to 20 days at Class AAA Memphis. Ellis (knee) was
injured during spring training. ... All three games of the series
were sellouts, giving the Cardinals four on the homestand.
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