St. Louis increases lead over Chicago

Friday, June 25, 2004

ST. LOUIS -- Seeing more of Chris Carpenter is not helping the Chicago Cubs at all.

The St. Louis Cardinals right-hander threw eight sharp innings, had two hits and an RBI and started a big double play in a 4-0 victory against the Cubs on Thursday night.

He's 3-0 with a 2.42 ERA against them this season.

"Carpenter pitched an awesome game," Sammy Sosa said.

The NL Central leaders took two of three from their closest competition, and lead the division by three games after a 7-2 homestand. The Cardinals, who scored all their runs in the fourth with the help of an error by shortstop Rey Ordonez, are 29-8 against the Cubs at Busch Stadium since 2000.

Tony Womack had three hits and an RBI, and Hector Luna and Mike Matheny drove in a run apiece. Womack is batting .384 in June with 13 multihit games.

"Our offense just has a different look when the leadoff guy gets on," manager Tony La Russa said. "So let's hope he stays hot."

The Cardinals haven't lost a series since May 21 to 23, when they dropped two of three at Chicago.

Carpenter (8-2) emerged unscathed from bases-loaded, one-out jams in the second and fourth, and raised his hands in triumph after striking out Todd Walker on a full count with runners on second and third for the final out in the seventh.

"As the game went on I got stronger and felt better and started hitting my spots a little more and my breaking ball got better," Carpenter said. "Everything, pretty much, was better."

Carpenter struck out nine, tying his season best, and walked one. He gave up seven hits before giving way to Jason Isringhausen, who worked a one-hit ninth to finish St. Louis' fourth shutout of the season.

Matt Clement (7-6) allowed four runs in six innings, falling to 3-1 this season against the Cardinals.

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