It’s been almost 11 months since Chris Carpenter won back-to-back games — last Aug. 4 and Aug. 9 to be exact. The last time the Cardinals won two straight was 11 days ago, June 18-19 over the Royals. Both streaks made a welcome return Wednesday night.
Carpenter went the distance in his second complete game of the year. It was also another impressive outing, with luck finally on his side. This was the third straight game he’s thrown more than 120 pitches — this time 132. But he doesn’t sound worried.
“To be honest with you, I felt just as good at the end of the game as I did at the beginning.”
“The reason you didn’t worry about (pitch count) was he was really pitching at the end,” La Russa said.
It definitely took some strength to get out of the fifth inning. As usual, or so it seems, CC had his one bad inning — and this time it had the potential to be really bad. The Orioles had the bases loaded following three straight singles. Nick Markakis then hit a grounder to CC, which he threw to Yadi at home for the first out. Adam Jones hit a fly to shallow left field, not deep enough for the runner to tag up. Two outs. Then came Vladimir Guerrero with the bases still loaded, but he hit a fly ball to Jon Jay in right. Whew …
These “bad innings” by CC are definitely much better than the ones he’d been having.
On offense, it was another good night for Colby — he homered for the second straight game, this time a two-run shot in the second inning. Skip Schumaker’s night was impressive as well, with two hits and an RBI from the lead-off position, as well as a now-eight-game hitting streak.
Skippy also scored one run on a sac fly by Lance Berkman and another on a single by David Freese.
And the now healthy Freese and Nick Punto continued hitting — definitely a welcome return!
Last night’s game was No. 81 for the season, giving the Cardinals a 43-38 record at the numerical halfway point. They’re now just a game behind the Brewers, who have lost two straight. (Thanks, Yankees!) The Reds are 2.5 behind the Brewers.
Speaking of the Reds, which I hate to do, they are headed back to Busch Stadium on Monday. And the pitching match-up looks like it could bring some Fourth of July fireworks: CC vs. Johnny Cueto. That is, provided no mystery ailment causes Cueto to not be able to pitch in St. Louis again …
In total contrast to Cueto, let’s talk about Stan The Man instead. Your help is needed from now through Saturday to vote for Stan’s walk-off homer from the 1955 All-Star Game as the greatest moment in All-Star Game history. He’s made the final four! You can vote here. And, as with All-Star Game voting, you can vote up to 25 games. So take another stand for Stan. Vote now and vote often! Come on, it’s The Man!
Christine Coleman is the senior St. Louis Cardinals reporter for Aaron Milesâ€™ Fastball. Follow her on Twitter, @CColeman802, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also follow @AMilesFastball for the latest updates.