OKLAHOMA CITY -- Chris Carpenter rounded into opening day form with five solid innings Thursday night, leading the St. Louis Cardinals over the Baltimore Orioles 5-1.
Carpenter gave up an unearned run and three hits in five innings in his last appearance before starting St. Louis' opener Tuesday at Houston. He lowered his ERA to 3.38.
"I think I was a little more mentally into it, trying to get myself prepared to stay locked in for as long as I need to," Carpenter said.
Carpenter struck out Miguel Tejada and Sammy Sosa back-to-back in the first and fourth innings and finished with seven strikeouts -- his second-highest total of the spring.
"That was a pretty good lineup we went up against tonight," Carpenter said. "My stuff was good. My stuff was there."
After missing the entire 2003 season following shoulder surgery, Carpenter came back last year to win a career-high 15 games before a bruised nerve near his right biceps ended his season in September. But he has had no trouble heading into this season.
"I threw 97 pitches and I still felt good," Carpenter said. "I could've went back out. I got my night's work in and was excited about where I was at."
The Cardinals scored all five of their runs in the third inning off Rick Bauer. With one out, Albert Pujols drove in Yadier Molina with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly to shallow center, and Scott Rolen and Jim Edmonds followed with RBI singles.
Baltimore had a chance to get out of the inning when Edmonds strayed too far from first base, but he was able to advance when no one covered second. Mark Grudzielanek then lined a two-run single to center to make it 5-0.
Bauer, who was auditioning to beat out Bruce Chen for the No. 5 spot in the Orioles' rotation, gave up five runs on seven hits in four innings. Chen will start against St. Louis' Jason Marquis on Friday.
The Orioles scored an unearned run in the fourth when Rolen mishandled a grounder by Javy Lopez with two outs and Enrique Wilson followed with an RBI single to center.
Notes: The game marked the first time two major league teams played in Oklahoma City since April 4, 1993, when the Cardinals beat Philadelphia 5-3. It was the first major league game ever at SBC Bricktown Ballpark, home of the Oklahoma RedHawks, the Texas Rangers' Triple-A affiliate ... Two Baltimore regulars were out of the lineup. 3B Melvin Mora, who was hit on the right wrist by a pitch Wednesday, did not accompany the team to Oklahoma and 2B Brian Roberts, who fouled a ball off his right shin on Wednesday, sat out and is day to day. Wilson started in his place. ... David Newhan, who started last season with Triple-A Oklahoma, pinch-hit for Bauer in the fifth and grounded out to second ... Edmonds was caught stealing on a hit-and-run attempt in the second inning when Grudzielanek struck out. It was Edmonds' first steal attempt of the spring.