Edmonds, Rolen power Redbirds past Expos 2-1

Friday, August 6, 2004

The Associated Press

ST. LOUIS -- Chris Carpenter could hardly control his emotions after Scott Rolen gave the St. Louis Cardinals the lead with a late home run.

"I was fired up," Carpenter said. "I love being a part of this team. It's so exciting to come to the field every night and feeling -- and knowing -- you have a chance to win."

Rolen hit a tiebreaking homer in the eighth inning, and Carpenter pitched eight innings for his career-high 12th win to lead the Cardinals to a 2-1 victory over the Montreal Expos on Thursday night.

"When somebody does something special like that, well, I was fired up," Carpenter said. "It's just a great experience to play with the guys on this team."

Jim Edmonds also homered for the Cardinals, who have won 13 of 17 to move a season-high 31 games over .500.

"Two big swings," St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said.

Rolen hit his 26th homer over the center-field fence on a 2-1 pitch from Luis Ayala (3-7) leading off the eighth. It was Rolen's major league-leading 98th RBI, and his first home run at home since May 27. His previous 13 homers all came on the road.

Rolen said he was aware of his lack of power at home.

"It had been slipped to me that my numbers at Busch Stadium haven't been great," Rolen said. "My numbers at Busch Stadium are less than stellar, but I've never had good numbers here when I was with the Phillies and now that I'm here. I always seem to hit a little better on the road. I don't know what the reason is."

The home run snapped Ayala's scoreless streak at 26 2-3 innings.

"I threw my best pitch," Ayala said. "I think he was waiting for that pitch and it was a good pitch. I threw it inside, my sinker, and it was for a strike -- and that's the game."

Ayala said he knew the ball was gone as soon as Rolen hit it.

"Yeah, I think goodbye," Ayala said. "That's it."

Jose Vidro had an RBI double for Montreal's lone run.

"In the series, we gave up too many home runs," Montreal manager Frank Robinson said. "We couldn't keep the ball in the ballpark in this series, and tonight was a perfect example."

Carpenter (12-4) allowed one run and four hits in eight innings, striking out seven and walking one. He improved to 5-0 against Montreal in seven career starts.

"All my pitches were there," Carpenter said. "I felt like I had a good game plan going in. My changeup was much better than it has been all year. I was able to get ahead in the counts."

Jason Isringhausen pitched the ninth for his 28th save in 33 chances.

Edmonds led off the sixth and homered on the first pitch from starter John Patterson, tying it at 1. It was Edmonds' 30th homer, and his eighth in 13 games. He has also raised his batting average to 303.

Edmonds has scored at least one run in his past 11 games, the longest streak this season for a St. Louis player. He has hit 30 or more homers in four of his last five seasons with the Cardinals.

"I don't know really know," Edmonds said when asked what's behind his streak. "I'm just going out there and trying to get some hits. It's a weird game. I just go out there and play the game."

St. Louis missed a chance at another run in the sixth. Roger Cedeno followed Edmonds with a double to chase Patterson. With one out, Cedeno was thrown out at the plate by center fielder Endy Chavez on Mike Matheny's single.

It was the first time Patterson pitched past the fifth inning in five starts since coming off the disabled list in July. He walked five and gave up four hits, throwing 103 pitches.

The Expos scored in the sixth for a 1-0 lead. With one out, Brad Wilkerson walked and scored on a two-out double to left by Vidro.

Notes: Edmonds and Pujols (31 homers) are the sixth pair of Cardinals teammates to hit 30 or more homers in a season. Rolen could give St. Louis three 30-homer hitters for the first time. ... Vidro remains one homer shy of 100. ... Montreal turned 11 double plays in its previous four games, but none Thursday.

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