Carpenter fires one-hit gem
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
The pitcher made a statement to his former team in St. Louis' 7-0 victory.
TORONTO -- Chris Carpenter had a dominant response for a fan that mocked him in his return to Toronto.
Carpenter pitched a one-hitter in his first start against the Blue Jays since they cut him in 2002, leading the Cardinals to a 7-0 victory on Tuesday night.
A fan held up a sign that read: "Thanks for four years of frustrating mediocrity Carpenter." Carpenter made a gesture toward the fan as he walked off the mound in the eighth and after he gave a postgame television interview.
"I tipped my hat to the guy that said 'Thanks for the four mediocre years,"' Carpenter said. "He had a big old sign."
Carpenter (9-4) allowed only Russ Adams' two-out double down the right-field line in the sixth. He watched the replay of the hit on the video board, then closed the game by retiring his last 10 batters.
His previous best outing was a two-hitter on April 15, 1999, against Tampa Bay.
"I was thinking about a no-hitter, no question about it. I thought I had a chance," Carpenter said.
The 30-year-old right-hander struck out 10 and walked one for his second shutout of the season and the seventh of his career. He threw 95 pitches, 68 for strikes.
Carpenter said Monday he was shocked when the Blue Jays released him in 2002 after he had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder. He pitched six seasons for Toronto, going 49-50 with a 4.83 ERA, before signing with St. Louis in December 2002.
He acknowledged he was excited about facing his former team.
"There's no question I thought about it. My wife talked to me about it and people were saying stuff about it," Carpenter said.
He said he didn't know what the reaction from fans would be.
"There were people getting on me, but that comes with the territory. People don't know the whole story with what went down," Carpenter said.
The 6-foot-6, 230-pounder missed all of 2003 because of the troublesome shoulder, but went 15-5 with a 3.46 ERA last season.
"I'm sure the Jays are missing him right now," Cardinals outfielder Larry Walker said.
Toronto manager John Gibbons was impressed.
"He's so big. He throws downhill at you," Gibbons said. "He throws 94 mph with that big old hook that he can control. It's tough to hit that."
St. Louis manager Tony La Russa thought Carpenter had a chance for the no-hitter and knew his pitcher was determined to beat his former team.
"He was a big part of this organization. He wanted to come back and make an impression, and I think he did," La Russa said.
One day after saying he might retire following the season because of injuries, Walker homered twice. Walker hit a two-run homer off Chad Gaudin (1-2) in the first, and a two-run shot off Gaudin in the fifth. The native of Canada had his 29th multihomer game and his first since last June 25 at Cleveland.
"I've always been realistic in this game, and I know that tomorrow can be a different day, so I'll take today and enjoy it," Walker said. "Hopefully, today is a step in the right direction."
Gaudin hit Albert Pujols with a pitch in the first before Walker homered to center. Reggie Sanders followed with a homer to left, giving St. Louis a 3-0 lead.
Pujols singled in the fifth and scored on Walker's towering homer to right. Walker entered the game 0-for-10 in his career in Toronto.
Gaudin allowed five runs and 10 hits in 4 1-3 innings.
Pujols added a two-run homer off Miguel Batista in the ninth. St. Louis reliever Ray King, standing in the bullpen, caught the ball barehanded using two hands.
Notes: Carpenter shut out the Chicago Cubs on April 21. ... Actor Bruce Willis watched the game from a luxury box. ... St. Louis center fielder Jim Edmonds didn't start for the second straight game because of bruised left ribs. So Taguchi started in his place. ... The Blue Jays have lost five of their last six games.