ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Chris Carpenter is 5-1 against the Chicago Cubs
since the start of the 2004 season. Apparently, familiarity isn't
helping the opposition.
"It's all about pitching," Carpenter said Thursday after
throwing a seven-hitter in the St. Louis Cardinals' 4-0 victory.
"Hitting is hard. If you make good pitches that aren't elevated in
the zone and keep people off-balance, you're going to have
success."Scott Rolen homered, hit his 300th career double and had three
RBI for St. Louis. Rolen, the cleanup hitter most of the season,
was moved down to fifth for only the second time, and his big day
raised his average to only .228."My last at-bat I was able to relax a little bit," Rolen said.
"Not until you relax do you realize how much you're pressing."The Cardinals, who broke open a one-run game in the eighth
inning on homers by Larry Walker and Rolen, are 32-10 at home
against the Cubs during the last six seasons and denied them a
sweep of a two-game series.Chicago, which learned before the game that shortstop Nomar
Garciaparra would be out two to three months because of a torn
groin, hasn't had a sweep in St. Louis since 1988."That's tough for us, regardless of what he's hitting,"
pitcher Ryan Dempster said of Garciaparra's injury. "Anytime you
lose a guy like that, it's huge."Carpenter (3-1) struck out six and walked one in his sixth
career shutout and his first since Sept. 4, 2001, against the New
York Yankees. It was his 14th career complete game and first since
last Aug. 26 at Cincinnati and it was also his first nine-inning
complete game since 2001.Chicago had two runners on in an inning three times, but
Carpenter, who also retired 11 in a row at one point early in the
game, kept escaping."They have quality guys over there, you've got quality guys
everywhere in this league, and I've got to go out and make quality
pitches," Carpenter said. "You're going to get beat around and I
don't want to get beat around."Chicago's best shot came in the sixth when catcher's
interference on an apparent inning-ending double-play ball by Corey
Patterson put runners on first and second. They moved up on a wild
pitch, but Carpenter struck out Aramis Ramirez and retired Jeromy
Burnitz on a soft liner to center."There's no room for anything," manager Tony La Russa said.
"But he's just tough as nails, and he made good pitches to keep
them from having something going."The Cubs also had runners on first and second in the first
inning before Ramirez grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Chicago stranded runners on second and third in the fifth.Dempster (1-3) allowed one run and four hits in six innings for
the Cubs, and one of his three walks was costly. Walker walked to
start the fourth, and Jim Edmonds reached on a one-out infield hit
that Ramirez knocked down at third with a dive but couldn't turn
into an out. Rolen then doubled down the left-field line."Sometimes you get outpitched," Dempster said. "He threw well
against us last year and he starts the year with a shutout against
us this year. That's the way it goes sometimes."It's the second time in four starts Dempster left a game
trailing 1-0."Ryan threw the ball great," manager Dusty Baker said. "We
had to hit for him in that one inning and we didn't want to because
he was throwing the ball so well. We've got to get him some runs."St. Louis, which left the bases loaded in the fourth, made it
2-0 in the eighth when Walker homered off Mike Remlinger. Rolen
added a two-run homer against Chad Fox.
The Cardinals have homered in 10 straight games. ... Henry
Blanco singled in the seventh to end an 0-for-13 slump. ...
Burnitz, who had been 6-for-10 in his three previous games, was
0-for-4. ... The Cardinals are 6-1 on the road and 3-4 at home. ...
The Cubs completed a 4-3 trip. ... Neifi Perez, who started at
shortstop in place of Garciaparra, was 2-for-4 with a pair of