for this game

Pujols, Carpenter help Cardinals top struggling Braves

Jul 31, 2008 - 4:02 AM By Phil Foley PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

ATLANTA (Ticker) -- Albert Pujols helped make Chris Carpenter's return a success for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Pujols drove in the game-winning run with a double in the seventh inning and Carpenter allowed one run over four frames in his first after missing 270 games to lead the Cardinals to a 7-2 win over the woeful Atlanta Braves on Wednesday.

Joe Mather blasted a two-run shot and Cesar Izturis and Adam Kennedy drove in a run each for the suddenly soaring Cardinals, who have won three straight.

"It was fun," said Carpenter, the 2005 National League Cy Young Award winner. "It was something I've been looking forward to for a long time. It's just good to get back out there and compete. I wanted to go out there and do everything I could to give our team a chance to win."

St. Louis (61-49) trails the Chicago Cubs (64-44) by four games and moved into a second-place tie with the Milwaukee Brewers (60-48) in the National League Central. The club also received a big boost to its rotation when the 33-year-old Carpenter towed the hill for his first time this season.

"It's like a trade deadline deal, getting Carpenter back," Braves right fielder Jeff Francoeur said. "His ball's got a lot of movement."

Carpenter, who last pitched in the Cardinals' season-opener in 2007, was effective. The righthander scattered one run and five hits with two walks and two strikeouts over four frames before he was lifted after 67 pitches.

Carpenter shut the door after allowing a run in the second on a single by Francoeur -- the third straight hit to open the frame and worked out of a bases-loaded two-out jam in the inning.

"He didn't walk into the Cy Young (in 2005)," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "He earned every bit of it. The pitches he made to escape jams were typical Chris Carpenter."

His teammates took it from there, winning another critical game with late heroics.

Once again, it was a combination of Pujols and shoddy defense that did in the Braves.

With the contest knotted at 2-2, Adam Kennedy laced a two-out single to right field off Atlanta rookie Jair Jurrjens (10-6) to bring up Pujols.

The 28-year-old slugger, who scored the game-winning run in Tuesday's 8-3 victory over the Braves by stealing third and coming home on Corky Miller's throwing error, once again delivered.

Pujols drove a double down the left field line, which was fielded cleanly by left fielder Greg Norton, who laced a cut-off throw to shortstop Yunel Escobar while Kennedy rounded third. But Escobar double-clutched on the throw home, allowing Kennedy to easily cross the plate and give St. Louis a 3-2 edge.

"I'm doing my job," Pujols said. "I'm getting good pitches and I'm driving the ball well. Nothing's different. We have been getting late runs. We have to score as many runs as we can before the ninth."

Mather put the game out of reach in the eighth with a two-run shot into the left field bleachers. The Cardinals tacked on two more in the ninth against the downtrodden Braves, who have lost their last five.

St. Louis reliever Brad Thompson (4-2) allowed one run and three hits over 2 2/3 frames to record the victory.

Kyle McClellan loaded the bases after recording the first two outs in the eighth, but Ron Villone retired newly acquired Brave Casey Kotchman with the tying run on first base to end the threat. Villone then worked around a two-out double in the ninth to record his first save since 2005.

It was another sullen day for the Braves, who have allowed 49 runs over their past five games and have begun to come to terms that their season may be lost.

One day after trading slugger Mark Teixeira for Kotchman and a minor leaguer, the club learned that Dr. James Andrews and team physician Dr. Xavier Duralde opined that season-ending "Tommy John" surgery was likely for staff ace Tim Hudson.

However, Hudson, who was "floored" when the results of the dye-contrast MRI revealed ligament damage to his right elbow told the club's official website that he would try to "tough it out" in a last-ditch rehabilitation assignment over the weekend before going under the knife.

Jurrjens, who allowed three runs and seven hits over seven frames, has been the only healthy starter in Atlanta's projected starting rotation this season.

"It stinks," Jurrjens said of Hudson's injury. "He's my mentor. Me and him have a good relationship. I hope he can recover quickly because we need him."








  • NL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    ST LOUIS 0 0 0 0 2 0 1 2 2 7 12 0
    ATLANTA 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 2 11 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: STL - CHRIS CARPENTER, BRAD THOMPSON (5TH), RUSS SPRINGER (7TH),
    KYLE MCCLELLAN (8TH), RON VILLONE (8TH) AND YADIER MOLINA
    ATL - JAIR JURRJENS, BLAINE BOYER (8TH),

    Jul 30 10:28 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY TROY GLAUS SCORED ALBERT PUJOLS.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, T GLAUS ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 7
    ATLANTA 2 TOP, 9TH
    DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: Y MOLINA (.307, 1-FOR-4)

    Cardinals 7, Braves 2  Top 9, 0 OutsJul 30 10:17 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY RYAN LUDWICK SCORED ADAM KENNEDY.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, R LUDWICK ON FIRST, A PUJOLS ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 6
    ATLANTA 2 TOP, 9TH
    DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: T GLAUS (.271, 0-FOR-4)

    Cardinals 6, Braves 2  Top 9, 0 OutsJul 30 10:12 PM
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    Cardinals 5, Braves 2  Bot 8, 0 OutsJul 30 9:54 PM


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    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY JOE MATHER (4) TO LEFT WITH 1 OUT IN
    THE 8TH OFF BLAINE BOYER SCORED YADIER MOLINA.
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 5, ATLANTA 2
    DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: R SPRINGER (.000, 0 HR, 0 RBI)

    Cardinals 5, Braves 2  Top 8, 0 OutsJul 30 9:37 PM
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    Cardinals 5, Braves 2  Top 8, 0 OutsJul 30 9:37 PM
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    Cardinals 3, Braves 2  Bot 7, 0 OutsJul 30 9:18 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY ALBERT PUJOLS SCORED ADAM KENNEDY.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, A PUJOLS ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 3
    ATLANTA 2 TOP, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: R LUDWICK (.293, 1-FOR-2, BB)

    Cardinals 3, Braves 2  Top 7, 0 OutsJul 30 9:15 PM
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    Cardinals 3, Braves 2  Top 7, 0 OutsJul 30 9:15 PM
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    Cardinals 2, Braves 2  Top 7, 0 OutsJul 30 9:11 PM
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    Cardinals 2, Braves 2  Top 7, 0 OutsJul 30 9:09 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY OMAR INFANTE SCORED YUNEL ESCOBAR.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, O INFANTE ON FIRST, G NORTON ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 2
    ATLANTA 2 BOTTOM, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: K JOHNSON (.266, 1-FOR-1, BB)

    Cardinals 2, Braves 2  Bot 5, 0 OutsJul 30 8:46 PM
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    Cardinals 2, Braves 2  Bot 5, 0 OutsJul 30 8:46 PM


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    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY ADAM KENNEDY SCORED CESAR IZTURIS.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, A KENNEDY ON SECOND, S SCHUMAKER ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 2
    ATLANTA 1 TOP, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: A PUJOLS (.353, 0-FOR-2)

    Cardinals 2, Braves 1  Top 5, 0 OutsJul 30 8:25 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY CESAR IZTURIS SCORED JOE MATHER.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, C IZTURIS ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 1
    ATLANTA 1 TOP, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: S SCHUMAKER (.302, 1-FOR-2)

    Cardinals 1, Braves 1  Top 5, 0 OutsJul 30 8:21 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JEFF FRANCOEUR SCORED OMAR INFANTE.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J FRANCOEUR ON FIRST, K JOHNSON ON SECOND, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 0
    ATLANTA 1 BOTTOM, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: C MILLER (.096, 1 HR, 3 RBI)

    Cardinals 0, Braves 1  Bot 2, 0 OutsJul 30 7:36 PM