Final

Series: Game 2 of 3

St. Louis leads 2-0 (as of 5/15)

Game 1: Friday, May 14
Florida3Final
St. Louis6
Game 2: Saturday, May 15
Florida0Final
St. Louis4
Game 3: Sunday, May 16
Florida3Final
St. Louis2

Marlins 0

(20-16, 11-10 away)

Cardinals 4

(20-17, 10-12 home)

2:15 PM ET, May 15, 2004

Busch Stadium I, St. Louis, Missouri 

123456789 R H E
FLA 000000000 0 5 1
STL 00030100 - 4 6 1

W: C. Carpenter (4-1)

L: D. Oliver (2-2)

S: J. Tavarez (2)

Carpenter allows 4 hits, no runs in 7 1/3 innings

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Chris Carpenter kept the St. Louis Cardinals' unsung rotation humming.

Carpenter allowed four hits in 7 1-3 scoreless innings and the Cardinals used a three-run fourth to beat the Florida Marlins 4-0 on Saturday.

A starting five that totaled 42 victories last year has averaged nearly seven innings in the first five games of a six-game homestand and contributed to four victories.

"People were really half-hearted listening to us when we were going to spring training, seeing what we had to work with," catcher Mike Matheny said. "If they continue to put out the performances they've had, we're going to have a lot of people saying a lot of things about this staff."

Albert Pujols, Jim Edmonds and Edgar Renteria drove in a run apiece in the fourth inning against Darren Oliver, and Matheny had two hits and an RBI as the Cardinals moved three games above .500 for the first time this season at 20-17.

"It's real good if we build on it," manager Tony La Russa said. "If this is the best week of the season, it's not going to be too good."

The NL East-leading Marlins have totaled two runs in losing the first two games of the three-game series. They're averaging just over three runs in their last 11 games.

Carpenter (4-1) controlled the Marlins with a sinking fastball that resulted in only one flyball out, continuing his comeback after missing all of last season following shoulder surgery. He struck out five, walked two and benefited from three double plays, pitching to only three batters above the minimum through seven innings before tiring.

"When he got in a bind, he didn't just make strike pitches," Matheny said. "He thought about what he was trying to do and he executed."

Mike Lowell flied out to the left-field wall with the bases loaded against Julian Tavarez for the last out of the eighth, the Marlins' best scoring opportunity. Tavarez then got the last three outs for his second save.

"I didn't get all of it," Lowell said. "I thought I hit it pretty good, so I was kind of hoping. Hey, that's kind of the way things have been going for us."

Carpenter beat the Marlins for the first time in five career starts. He was 0-2 with a 2.70 ERA against Florida in four interleague starts while he was with the Blue Jays, the last of which came on June 9, 2001.

In his last two starts, Carpenter has allowed two runs on eight hits in 15 1-3 innings to lower his ERA to 3.86. On Sunday, he held the Expos to two runs on four hits in eight innings.

"I actually felt better today," Carpenter said. "I was definitely down in the zone more. You try to build on each start."

Oliver (2-2) retired the first nine batters in order with the help of a double play in the second inning. But the first three Cardinals reached base in the fourth on an infield single by Tony Womack, a walk by Reggie Sanders and an RBI single by Pujols.

With one out, Edmonds hit a sacrifice fly, and one out later, Renteria's run-scoring single made it 3-0. Renteria returned to the lineup after missing Friday's game with tightness in his lower back.

The Cardinals added a run in the sixth on Edmonds' leadoff walk off Nate Bump and successive one-out singles by Ray Lankford and Matheny.

Oliver gave up three runs on four hits in 4 1-3 innings with one strikeout and two walks. He's 1-2 with a 9.10 ERA in his last six starts, and his overall ERA of 7.82 isn't much better.

"I can look myself in the mirror after the game and know I did the best I could," Oliver said. "I can get some sleep at night."

Game notes


Tavarez, who has had his smudged cap checked twice in the last month, wore a brand new model in the eighth. He also had his hair dyed orange. "It's just like you ask somebody, 'Why did you get married?' I thought I was ready for it," he said. ... Mike Redmond grounded into three double plays in a span of five at-bats the first two games, including his first time up Saturday. ... Womack is 6-for-13 for his career against Oliver. ... The Cardinals clinched their first winning homestand of the season. They're 10-12 at home.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

SPONSORED HEADLINES