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Carpenter, Belliard help Cards snap skid, top Reds

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Chris Carpenter refused to allow the St. Louis
Cardinals' fast-dwindling NL Central lead to clutter his mind. The
2005 Cy Young Award winner just tried to pitch his game.

Carpenter threw a four-hitter and Ronnie Belliard had three hits
and two RBI in his biggest game since joining the Cardinals at the
trade deadline, helping them stop a three-game skid with a 5-0
victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night.

Cardinals center fielder Jim Edmonds
left Tuesday night's game against Cincinnati after four innings
because of dizziness and was taken to a hospital for an MRI exam.

"Anytime you deal with a head injury there's a lot of
unknowns," trainer Barry Weinberg said. "That's why you want to
get all the data and the information first before you make any
guesses as to what it is."

Edmonds took the field and warmed up before the fifth inning
started, then needed attention from Weinberg and manager Tony La
Russa before walking off. Edmonds took an awkward cut on strike
three ending the third but had not encountered any difficult plays
in the field.

"He said he felt dizzy and his vision was a little blurred,"
La Russa said. "This is a tough game to play if you've got blurred
vision whether it's offense or defense, so we'll get you out of
there."

-- Associated Press

"To be honest with you, I don't treat it any different,"
Carpenter said. "I need to go out and concentrate on making
pitches and don't concern myself with the importance of the game."

Chris Duncan hit a two-run homer off Aaron Harang (12-8) as part
of a three-hit night and Albert Pujols also had three hits for the
Cardinals, who totaled three runs while getting swept in a
three-game weekend series at last-place Pittsburgh. St. Louis won
for only the second time in seven games overall and beat the
second-place Reds for just the fifth time in 13 tries, moving 2½
games in front.

Carpenter (11-6) squandered a 5-0 lead at Cincinnati last
Wednesday while ending with a no-decision in a one-run loss. He was
0-2 with a 7.94 ERA in his past three starts. This time, he allowed
only four singles, ran only one three-ball count and allowed only
one runner to reach second base.

"He just didn't miss," said Cincinnati's Scott Hatteberg, who
was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. "He had a stripe on the inside
corner for lefties and he hit it going this way and going that way
at will.

"When he's got that and 95 (mph), man, that's unhittable."

Carpenter didn't allow a hit until Adam Dunn singled with one
out in the fifth. The right-hander struck out six with no walks and
a hit batsman.

"I was locating really well and wasn't trying to overpower
anybody," Carpenter said. "I was just trying to hit the glove and
my cutter was good. Everything was good."

Carpenter, who lost twice to the Reds this season, is 3-3 for
his career against Cincinnati and now has a losing record against
only two NL teams -- the Mets and Brewers. He has two shutouts this
year, the other coming on a two-hitter against the Dodgers on July
14, and 11 for his career.

Harang lasted five innings, his shortest start since June 12
against Milwaukee -- not counting a two-inning appearance in a
rain-delayed game. He gave up five runs and eight hits, losing for
the first time in three decisions at new Busch Stadium.

Harang threw an inning of relief on Friday in a 14-inning loss
at Philadelphia, but did not believe that was a factor.

"You can't blame that," Harang said. "It's just one of those
nights where I didn't feel everything was there and just felt
off."

Belliard, acquired from the Indians to end a platoon at second
base, was 9-for-44 with three RBI in his first 12 games with the
Cardinals. His RBI single in the second was the 1,000th hit of his
career and it put St. Louis ahead. His run-scoring double in the
fourth made it 2-0, and he also singled in the fifth.

Belliard also had two hits on Sunday.

"The guys in here welcomed me pretty good, made me feel
comfortable," Belliard said. "Maybe I was pressing a little bit
early."

Duncan's 11th homer in only 147 at-bats was the highlight of a
three-run fifth that gave the Cardinals a 5-0 cushion. The other
run scored when Pujols doubled, advanced on a sacrifice and scored
when Harang bounced a breaking ball off the plate for a wild
pitch.

Game notes
Cardinals CF Jim Edmonds took the field before the fifth,
but left before a pitch was thrown, complaining of dizziness.
Edmonds, who hit a grand slam off Harang last week in Cincinnati,
was moved to cleanup ahead of Scott Rolen in a late lineup shuffle.
... The Cardinals are 26-30 against the NL Central. Their last
losing record in the division was 27-34 in 1999. ... Carpenter has
a major league-best 32 victories over the last two seasons. This
was his 22nd career complete game, nine of them coming in the past
two seasons. ... The Reds' Jason LaRue is in an 0-for-23 slump. He
grounded out with two on to end the fifth, his team's best scoring
chance. ... Edwin Encarnacion was 0-for-3, ending a 10-game hitting
streak.