Francis bests Carpenter in Friday duel

Sunday, May 22, 2011

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Chris Carpenter has pitched long enough to understand that some games are just a part of the fabric of baseball and getting upset about them only leads to more failure.

The St. Louis right-hander threw well Friday night, but Jeff Francis threw a little better, leading Kansas City to a 3-0 victory over Carpenter and the Cardinals.

"I was good all night. I threw the ball well," Carpenter said.

Francis (1-5) and Carpenter (1-4) were locked in a mirror-image duel through the first six innings. Both had thrown 76 pitches and allowed five hits and no runs. Carpenter had walked none and struck out five. Francis had walked two and struck out five.

But that changed in the seventh when Billy Butler led off with a single, igniting a three-run rally the Cardinals could not respond to.

Wilson Betemit put Butler on third with a double into center field that Colby Rasmus barely missed on an attempted diving catch. After Brayan Pena lifted a sacrifice fly to right, Chris Getz singled to put runners at the corners. Alcides Escobar hit an RBI single to right, just in front of Jon Jay.

Trever Miller relieved Carpenter and loaded the bases with a walk to Alex Gordon before Melky Cabrera made it 3-0 with a sacrifice fly.

"I got a ball in the middle of the plate to Butler," Carpenter said. "Made an OK pitch to Betemit that was up there for a while but it found a spot. On the Escobar base hit, I left it up there a bit."

Carpenter went 6 1/3 innings and gave up three runs and nine hits. He struck out five with no walks.

Does he find himself getting discouraged?

"No. I find myself getting ready for the next start," he said. "That's what you have to do. You have to continue to grind and do the things you have to do to get ready, then go out and pitch."

Francis threw 7 2/3 innings and gave up six hits and two runs, walked two and struck out six, raising his career record over the Cardinals to 5-1 and helping the Royals to their first shutout of their state rivals in 61 interleague games.

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