Carpenter allowed four hits in 7 1-3 scoreless innings and the
Cardinals used a three-run fourth to beat the Florida Marlins 4-0
A starting five that totaled 42 victories last year has averaged
nearly seven innings in the first five games of a six-game
homestand and contributed to four victories.
"People were really half-hearted listening to us when we were
going to spring training, seeing what we had to work with,"
catcher Mike Matheny said. "If they continue to put out the
performances they've had, we're going to have a lot of people
saying a lot of things about this staff."
Albert Pujols, Jim Edmonds and Edgar Renteria drove in a run
apiece in the fourth inning against Darren Oliver, and Matheny had
two hits and an RBI as the Cardinals moved three games above .500
for the first time this season at 20-17.
"It's real good if we build on it," manager Tony La Russa
said. "If this is the best week of the season, it's not going to
be too good."
The NL East-leading Marlins have totaled two runs in losing the
first two games of the three-game series. They're averaging just
over three runs in their last 11 games.
Carpenter (4-1) controlled the Marlins with a sinking fastball
that resulted in only one flyball out, continuing his comeback
after missing all of last season following shoulder surgery. He
struck out five, walked two and benefited from three double plays,
pitching to only three batters above the minimum through seven
innings before tiring.
"When he got in a bind, he didn't just make strike pitches,"
Matheny said. "He thought about what he was trying to do and he
Mike Lowell flied out to the left-field wall with the bases
loaded against Julian Tavarez for the last out of the eighth, the
Marlins' best scoring opportunity. Tavarez then got the last three
outs for his second save.
"I didn't get all of it," Lowell said. "I thought I hit it
pretty good, so I was kind of hoping. Hey, that's kind of the way
things have been going for us."
Carpenter beat the Marlins for the first time in five career
starts. He was 0-2 with a 2.70 ERA against Florida in four
interleague starts while he was with the Blue Jays, the last of
which came on June 9, 2001.
In his last two starts, Carpenter has allowed two runs on eight
hits in 15 1-3 innings to lower his ERA to 3.86. On Sunday, he held
the Expos to two runs on four hits in eight innings.
"I actually felt better today," Carpenter said. "I was
definitely down in the zone more. You try to build on each start."
Oliver (2-2) retired the first nine batters in order with the
help of a double play in the second inning. But the first three
Cardinals reached base in the fourth on an infield single by Tony
Womack, a walk by Reggie Sanders and an RBI single by Pujols.
With one out, Edmonds hit a sacrifice fly, and one out later,
Renteria's run-scoring single made it 3-0. Renteria returned to the
lineup after missing Friday's game with tightness in his lower
Oliver gave up three runs on four hits in 4 1-3 innings with one
strikeout and two walks. He's 1-2 with a 9.10 ERA in his last six
starts, and his overall ERA of 7.82 isn't much better.
"I can look myself in the mirror after the game and know I did
the best I could," Oliver said. "I can get some sleep at
Tavarez, who has had his smudged cap checked twice in the
last month, wore a brand new model in the eighth. He also had his
hair dyed orange. "It's just like you ask somebody, 'Why did you
get married?' I thought I was ready for it," he said. ... Mike
Redmond grounded into three double plays in a span of five at-bats
the first two games, including his first time up Saturday. ...
Womack is 6-for-13 for his career against Oliver. ... The Cardinals
clinched their first winning homestand of the season. They're 10-12