Another Win for Cardinals' Chris Carpenter

Tuesday, August 30th 2005, 6:06 am
By: News On 6

Tony La Russa decided that Chris Carpenter didn't need to try for what would have been his National League-leading seventh complete game.

Nobody seems capable of preventing Carpenter from something more meaningful, though: his first 20-win season.

The St. Louis ace became baseball's first 19-game winner Monday night, pitching 7 2-3 innings and leading the Cardinals to a 6-1 victory over the Florida Marlins.

The right-hander had thrown only 94 pitches and was four outs from breaking a tie with Florida's Dontrelle Willis for the NL lead with six complete games when he was removed.

``We're not going to push it,'' La Russa said. ``That was enough for today, and we'll try to save a few bullets for the next time he pitches.''

That will be when he goes for No. 20. Carpenter (19-4) is next scheduled to pitch against Houston on Saturday.

Carpenter allowed seven hits but only one run in 7 2-3 innings, stranding four runners in scoring position. He is 11-0 in his last 14 starts, leads the NL in wins and innings pitched, and is second in ERA (2.29), strikeouts (183) and shutouts (4).

``I had command of my sinker, command of my cutter, and command of my breaking ball, and I was able to throw it when I wanted to throw it and keep them off balance all night,'' Carpenter said.

In other NL games, it was: the Los Angeles Dodgers 9, the Chicago Cubs 6; Arizona 7, San Diego 5; and Colorado 2, San Francisco 1; Cincinnati's game at Pittsburgh and Washington's game at Atlanta were postponed by rain.

Elsewhere, Cubs right-hander Kerry Wood made his final appearance of the season, pitching the eighth inning of Chicago's loss. He will have season-ending arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder Wednesday.

While Carpenter keeps winning, A.J. Burnett has lost his dominant form.

After winning seven straight starts, the right-hander has lost two in a row. Burnett (12-8) allowed a season-high six walks, and four led to runs _ including one to Carpenter, an .031 hitter. He left trailing 6-1.

``Too many bases on balls are going to hurt you,'' Florida manager Jack McKeon said. ``He wasn't on his game.''

Unfortunately for the Marlins, Carpenter was. Florida could have tied Philadelphia for the NL wild-card lead with a victory, but couldn't come through with the key hits against the NL's All-Star game starter.

``If Carpenter hadn't been out there, it might have been easier,'' McKeon said. ``He got in a couple of jams, and he got out of them. He was tough in the clutch. That's why he's a 19-game winner.''

Dodgers 9, Cubs 6

At Chicago, Jeff Kent drove in four runs and D.J. Houlton (5-7) won for the first time in nine starts since June 27, despite giving up four solo homers.

Jeromy Burnitz homered twice for the Cubs, and Nomar Garciaparra and Todd Walker each connected off Houlton, who surrendered seven hits and four runs in 5 2-3 innings. Duaner Sanchez retired Derrek Lee on a grounder for the final out and his fifth save.

The Dodgers drove Jerome Williams (4-7) out after 1 2-3 innings with a six-run second that featured five hits, three walks and an error.

Diamondbacks 7, Padres 5

At San Diego, Kelly Stinnett hit a bizarre inside-the-park homer, and Troy Glaus, Chad Tracy and Shawn Green also connected as Arizona trimmed San Diego's NL West lead to 4 1/2 games.

Arizona has won three straight following a six-game losing streak and is tied with the Los Angeles Dodgers for second place. Russ Ortiz (5-8) won for the first time in seven decisions.

Woody Williams (6-11) lasted five innings as San Diego fell to 64-66. It's the latest in a season that a team has led a division with a losing record.

Rockies 2, Giants 1

At San Francisco, Matt Holliday hit his 14th homer to help Colorado spoil Matt Cain's debut.

Byung-Hyun Kim (4-10) earned his first road win in seven starts this season and Brian Fuentes worked the ninth for his 25th save. He established a franchise record for saves in a season by a lefty, passing Bruce Ruffin's mark of 24 set in 1996.

At 20 years and 332 days, Cain (0-1) became the youngest Giants pitcher to make his first big league start since Mark Grant (20 years, 185 days) on April 27, 1984, at Cincinnati. He allowed two runs and three hits, struck out two and walked four.