The St. Louis Cardinals are again off to a strong start. Based
on Chris Carpenter’s recent outings at Miller Park, that could
continue through Sunday night.
Carpenter will try to add to his 17-inning scoreless streak in
Milwaukee and help the Cardinals to their seventh consecutive road
win over the Brewers.
St. Louis opened last season by winning eight of its first 11 en
route to a Central Division title. In 2008, the Cardinals got off
to an 11-4 start before eventually finishing fourth.
A 7-1 victory the Brewers on Saturday was the Cardinals’ fourth
in five games to open 2010.
St. Louis, batting only .238 this season, had eight hits in the
win but benefited from a pair of timely ones – Yadier Molina’s
three-run homer in the second inning and Albert Pujols’ two-run
single in the fifth.
The Cardinals took Friday’s series opener 5-4 thanks to two-out,
two-run homers from Matt Holliday and pinch-hitter Nick Stavinoha,
who drove in the go-ahead runs in the ninth inning.
Those victories have paved the way for Carpenter (1-0, 3.00 ERA)
to try to help the Cardinals complete consecutive three-game sweeps
at Miller Park.
“It’s very important to win the series and tomorrow we have a
chance to sweep them,” Molina said. “We have Carp on the mound and
everybody knows Carp, he’s a great pitcher.”
Carpenter opened this season by allowing two runs and five hits
over six innings in Monday’s 11-6 win in Cincinnati. In his
previous start in Milwaukee on Sept. 7, he recorded his only
shutout of last season – a one-hitter with 10 strikeouts in a 3-0
The right-hander was 17-4 with a 2.24 ERA last year, and
finished second in the NL Cy Young Award voting to San Francisco’s
Carpenter, who also beat the Brewers in St. Louis on Sept. 2,
did not get a decision in Milwaukee on May 25 despite allowing two
hits over eight innings. Instead, a two-out single from Bill Hall
in the 10th gave the Brewers a 1-0 victory.
Since then, Milwaukee (2-3) has dropped nine of 10 at home to
the Cardinals. The Brewers have been outscored 12-5 in the first
two games of this series and have batted .177.
Milwaukee, also hitting .238 overall, will likely need to give
left-hander Randy Wolf (1-0, 5.40) a little more support. The
Brewers had four hits Saturday including two from Corey Hart in his
second start this season.
“That was very encouraging,” manager Ken Macha told the team’s
Web site. “I was looking at how the thing go the next three or four
games, and he’s got a chance he’s going to be in there
Wolf, 0-2 with a 3.57 ERA in his last three starts versus the
Cardinals, allowed two runs over six innings in his only outing
against them last season for the Los Angeles Dodgers but was
outdueled by Carpenter in a 6-1 defeat on July 27.
Wolf, who hasn’t earned a win over St. Louis since May 16, 2007,
got five runs of support in his Brewers debut – Tuesday’s 7-5 win
over visiting Colorado. He allowed four runs and nine hits over 6
2-3 innings, but also struck out eight and walked none.