ST. LOUIS (KMOX) — The Cardinals (41-35) snapped a two-game skid and avoided a sweep by taking advantage of an ailing Roy Oswalt as they jumped all over the Philadelphia Phillies (47-29) early and often en route to a 12-2 win to give Chris Carpenter his first victory at Busch Stadium since September 30, 2010. After what seemed like a very long four days for Cardinal Nation, the home team comes out of the series with the Phillies tied for first place in the NL Central Division.
Carpenter (2-7, 4.26) earned his second win this season with perhaps his best start in 2011. He retired the first 16 out of 18 Phillies’ batters that he faced. In 7.0 innings, ‘Carp’ matched a season-high with 124 pitches that he set in his previous start. Together, it is the most the Cardinals’ ace has thrown in back-to-back starts since 1999.
‘Carp’ shared his thoughts on getting the win:
Needing a stop after dropping the first two to perhaps the National League’s best ball club, Carpenter shut down the potent Philly lineup with 7 strike outs, 7 groundouts, and 4 flyouts. The Phillies were able to get 5 hits and a walk off Carpenter, but could not manufacture a run until the sixth. After that, they would not score until after the Cardinals’ late-inning downpour.
Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa was pleased that the offense was finally able to provide support for Carpenter:
Though just one win in the series, Cardinals starting pitching was fantastic going a total of 22.0 innings pitched allowing just 6 runs against the Phillies.
Coincidentally like Tuesday, there was an assault in the eighth inning, except the Cardinals were the ones rounding the bases this time. They sent 10 batters to the dish scoring 6 runs on a double, 2 walks, a hit by pitch, a single, and a 3-run homer.
Before that, the Cardinals quickly put together 5 runs on 7 hits in the first three innings off of Roy Oswalt (4-6, 3.79) and spot starter Kyle Kendrick. Oswalt was obviously not in good enough condition to make the start, much less challenge the opposing batters. Lower-back inflammation, and what Oswalt later revealed to be a problem with two discs continues to be an issue for the former Houston Astros’ ace. The issue has already sent Oswalt to the disabled list, yet this time, the injury is being debated as potentially career threatening.
After the game, Roy Oswalt talked about the injury and how it is not just affecting him:
Not looking right from the beginning, and Oswalt admitting that he is uncomfortable almost all the time, Philadelphia reporters were questioning manager Charlie Manuel why he made the start if he was hurt:
In the first inning, Jon Jay hit a 427-foot shot off of Oswalt for his fifth homer. An inning later, Oswalt would surrender 3 more runs on RBI singles from Tony Cruz and Ryan Theriot.
Spot starter Kyle Kendrick came out of the bullpen and did an adequate job of eating innings. In 4.0 innings, Kendrick gave up 2 runs on 5 hits an a walk. Phillies reliever Dannys Baez was the lone victim in the eighth inning as he gave up 6 runs on 4 hits, 2 walks, and an opposite field home run to Lance Berkman.
For Berkman, he now has 18 home runs and 54 RBI’s. A season ago, the five-time All-Star only had 14 homers and 58 RBI’s with the Astros and Yankees. He did commit an error at first base in the eighth, but the mistake was not costly and Berkman has done very well filling in for Albert Pujols.
The middle of the lineup for the Cardinals on Thursday was fantastic. Between Matt Holliday, Lance Berkman, and Colby Rasmus, the three went a combined 6-13 with a home run, 5 RBI’s, and 5 runs scored.
Ryan Howard struck out twice in his first two at-bats against Carpenter, but picked up his 62nd RBI in the top of the sixth with a RBI single.
NOTES … Chris Carpenter’s two sacrifice bunts on Thursday night now gives the Cardinals a league-leading 40 sacrifice hits … The Cardinals avoided a three-game home losing streak on Thursday night, and they have not had one at Busch Stadium since September 13-15, 2010 … The broadcast on Friday for the Charter Communications Pregame Show on KMOX 1120 AM will start at 6:20pm.
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