Carpenter pitches a gem as the Cardinals stay alive in Wild Card Race

Chris Carpenter threw eight shut out innings as the Cardinals defeated the Phillies 5-0 last night. Albert Pujols hit a two run home run and Allen Craig had two home runs to help the Red Birds move within 3.5 games of the NL Wild Card leading Atlanta Braves with 10 games to play. Cole Hamels gave up four earned runs in seven innings to lose his 9th game of the season. Things could get interesting as the Cardinals are home for series with the Mets and Cubs before ending with a road trip to Houston. The Braves go on a road trip to Florida and Washington before taking on the Phillies at home to end the season. Also the suddenly streaking San Francisco Giants, four back of the Braves, head to Los Angeles and Arizona before wrapping up the season with a home series against Colorado. Before all that gets situated, the Cardinals and Phillies wrap up their four game series tonight with Roy Halladay taking on Kyle Lohse.

Before many people couldn’t even get seated the Cardinals had already taken a 2-0 lead on a two run bomb by Albert Pujols. The Phillies tried to bounce back in the first inning with runners on first and second with one out for Hunter Pence, but Pence grounded into a double play.  The Cardinals, who lead the league in GIDPs, turned their second one of the game on Ross Gload in the second inning.  In the fourth inning, Chase Utley and Hunter Pence led off the inning with singles, but Carpenter induced his third double play of the night on Raul Ibanez to kill any threat. Allen Craig hit a two run home run in the top of the sixth inning to make it 4-0 and with the Phillies’ offense taking the night off, that basically wrapped it up. Joe Blanton replaced Cole Hamels in the eight inning and gave up a moon shot to Craig to make it 5-0.  Hamels actually wasn’t terrible, he struck out nine and didn’t walked a batter, but made two mistakes on the home runs that obviously costed him. Phillies’ prospect Justin De Fratus made his Major League debut in the ninth inning, pitching a scoreless inning.

Notes:

-Zero energy from the Phillies, not surprising considering they clinched the night before.

-Chase Utley had three hits, hopefully he starts to turn it around.

-Chris Carpenter is still very good in case you were wondering.

-Get use to the name Justin De Fratus, he’s likely to be battling for a bullpen spot next February.

-John Bowker is terrible. You can see that pretty easily.

-One could make the case that Brian Schneider is the worst player in baseball. I mean you don’t need a lot of production out of your backup catcher, but he gives less than zero production.  And don’t give me that stat about how the team is 27-5 when he catches, you and I could go 27-5 with this pitching staff.

-That’s a lot of ranting on a backup catcher, but it’s been building for me.

-I’m starting to get sick, but I’m going to give the doubleheader a try on Tuesday. It will likely be my last games of the season.

-This has nothing to do with baseball, but I start grad school today so wish me luck. Hopefully a deep Phillies’ postseason run won’t affect (or is it effect?) my grades.

Cardinals hit several of these last night. They are called bombs.

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