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Cardinals call on Carpenter in potential clincher

Oct 1, 2006 - 3:44 PM Milwaukee (74-87) at St Louis (83-77) 2:15 pm EDT

ST. LOUIS (Ticker) -- With so much at stake, the St. Louis Cardinals turn to a battle-tested veteran in their bid to win the National League Central Division.

Chris Carpenter gets the call as the Cardinals attempt to clinch the division crown Sunday in the final game of their weekend series with the Milwaukee Brewers.

After dropping eight of nine games, St. Louis has won its last two contests against Milwaukee to take a 1 1/2-game lead over the Houston Astros in the division race.

The Cardinals can wrap up the title with a win or a loss by the Astros. However, if St. Louis loses and Houston beats the Atlanta Braves, the Cardinals would be forced to play a makeup game against the San Francisco Giants on Monday.

The reigning Cy Young Award winner, Carpenter (15-8, 3.09 ERA) is 8-4 with a 1.81 ERA in 17 home starts this year. He has dropped his last two outings, including Tuesday's defeat to the San Diego Padres after giving up six runs and 12 hits in seven innings.

Scott Spiezio's bases-clearing triple in the eighth inning enabled the Cardinals to rally for Saturday's 3-2 victory over the Brewers. St. Louis has won nine of the 15 encounters between the two clubs this year.

Milwaukee counters with rookie Carlos Villanueva (1-2, 3.97), who makes his sixth start and 10th appearance of the season. Recalled from Class AAA Nashville on September 11, he gave up five runs and eight hits in five frames of Tuesday's loss to the Chicago Cubs.

A win would leave the Brewers with only seven fewer victories than last year (81-81), when they avoided a losing record for the first time in 13 seasons.

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